LIFE IN BALANCE
vibes and visions!
meditation GO DEEPER
The beauty of
PLUS: Plant-based recipes and smoothies Ayurveda and your world Be the change Parenting and much more
WILD Fantastic ways to
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Power Living chooses to regularly host its yoga retreats at Komune. The staff are polite and offer exceptional, swift and friendly service. Komune is the ultimate choice for us. - National Programs Team, Power Living
BOOK A YOGA RETREAT for your yoga tribe with ten or more twin rooms and receive one luxurious suite room FREE for the duration of your retreat*
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Hosting a Retreat? • Ocean front and garden yoga shalas • Organic health cafe with food served straight from our farm • In-house yoga instructor • An affordable turnkey operation for yoga teaching & wellness retreats
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B A L I ,
I N D O N E S I A
Body beautiful Meditate and radiate inner peace.
Cruisy smoothies Lola Berry’s super tasty, super charge
Sleep tight Preparing for a sound slumber.
A revelation of love Honouring connections with Les Lev
Very vegan ... very go Living a cruelty-free, plant-based life
Green creations A feast of nutritional, celebrational, taste sensational proportions.
Into the wild The necessity of nurturing our love o
Bhutan bliss Discovering why Bhutan is the happy
Interview: Renée Lo On her relationship with yoga and th
SCREEN SAVERS Choose life, choose digital downtime.
AYURVEDIC CLARITY Cultivate more Sattva in your daily life.
STUFF WE LOVE Tea, tank tops, tumeric balls and traditional oil.
KUNDALINI MAGIC Feel the power of this five-part meditation.
PIT STOP A guide to natural deodorants.
PARENTING Helping children create clarity of mind.
EAT WELL The modern, bitter taste of health.
PLASTIC FREE! Heed the call to unite and save the world.
MEET MY TEACHER Tracey Hargreaves takes the spiritual path.
OFF THE MAT Anna Greer: good karma and global healing.
HOME PRACTICE Inspiring effort and learning to surrender.
POSES OF THE MONTH Strengthen your feet and core and develop focus and confidence.
ANATOMY Discover the pure power of your breath.
ON THE COVER Photography by Cynthia Sciberras
EDITOR’S LETTER TALK TO US
EVENTS IN THE NOW
90 SUBSCRIBE 91 DIRECTORY
PHOTOS: RICK CUMMINGS; STYLIST: JESSICA JEANNE EATON; GROOMING: BETH WALKER; TOP: PRANA; BOTTOMS: LULULEMON
A heartfelt yogi on deep acceptance, and the importance of community.
PHOTO: (FROM TOP) SITRIEL/ISTOCKPHOTO.COM; NORA WENDEL FROM HEY YOGI MEDIA; SITRIEL/ISTOCKPHOTO.COM; ANTHI
I S S U E N O 55 . N OV E M B E R / D EC E M B E R 2 01 6
AUSTRALIAN YOGA JOURNAL
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Loving the eco vibes and vegan goodness
AS A YOGI, a yoga teacher, an ethically curious person and a health nut, I’ve spent a lot of my life pondering why we eat meat and if we should. Many yogis are very passionate vegans, as eating meat doesn’t exactly honour the principals of non-violence (ahimsa). We could get into lengthy discussions about the philosophy of violence but it’s simple: as yogis, the ethics of what we eat is something we have at least thought about. And that leads to wonderings of the environment as a whole, and how we can take the beautiful philosophies that we learn in yoga and use them to create a better world. And that is a big part of what I would love to achieve here. To motivate people to think not just about how they can get a fabulous yoga body, but how they can live a more yogic life. So this edition is a splattering of my stream of consciousness and more, with a big focus on the environment. How important is it to take yoga off the mat (p.84); where
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do I start if I want to explore a vegan lifestyle? (p.56 plus recipes from p.62); what small steps can I personally take to help the planet (p. 34); how can I stay connected to nature (p.68); plus all your regular favourites and more, including snippets of wisdom from green smoothie guru Lola Berry (p. 40), teacher Les Leventhal (p. 52) and cover model Amanda Vella. This edition has been a big one for me. As I evolve in this new role, I take on more responsibility and impart more of myself. Amidst all of this I’ve been travelling a lot, dealing with a comatose computer and moving house (and that’s just the tip of the iceberg). But it’s just so incredibly special to be a part of the creation of something that speaks to so many people and touches so many hearts. Thank you so much for all the support and beautiful feedback. I’m really feeling the love and can’t express enough gratitude for all of you and the wonderful team I’m so blessed to create with.
Loraine Rushton, Diana Timmins, Duncan Peak, Lorien Waldron, Janie Larmour, Chris Dixon PRINTER
Printed by Webstar Print Australian Yoga Journal is published and distributed eight times a year by Contact Media Pty Limited, under license from Active Interest Media, 2520 55th Street, Suite 210, Boulder, Colorado 80301, United States of America. Copyright © 2016 Active Interest Media. The trademark YOGA JOURNAL is a registered trademark of Active Interest Media. All rights reserved. Vegetarian Times content, which appears in this magazine, is copyrighted © Cruz Bay publishing Inc. All Rights reserved, reprinted with permission. Subject to national and international intellectual property laws and treaties. Vegetarian Times is a registered US trademark of Cruz Bay Publishing. This publication may not be reproduced in whole or part without the written permission of the publisher. Copyright of all images and text sent to Australian Yoga Journal (whether solicited or not) is assigned to Contact Media upon receipt. Articles express the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Publisher, Editor or Contact Media Pty Limited. Distributed by Gordon & Gotch. ISSN 1837 2406. ACTIVE INTEREST MEDIA CHAIRMAN & CEO Efram Zimbalist III PRESIDENT & COO Andrew W. Clurman EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT & CFO Brian Sellstrom EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, OPERATIONS Patricia B. Fox DIRECTOR OF INTERNATIONAL LICENSING Dayna Macy @ CRUZ BAY PUBLISHING, INC.
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"The teacher-student relationship is very special to me – it's the traditional way that yoga has been passed down. I've had the honour to study with amazing teachers including Maty Ezraty, Shiva Rea, Simon Park and Joan Hyman – I'm honoured to share the wisdom I've gained from them with my students." –– Noelle Connolly, Head of Yoga at BodyMindLife
BODYMINDLIFE YOGA TEACHER TRAINING Are you ready to strengthen your personal practice – physically, mentally and emotionally – and build your teaching skills with a carefully curated path of specialised training? BodyMindLife offers unique and accessible programs certified by Yoga Australia and Yoga Alliance at the 200, 350 and 500 hour levels. Led by Kat Clayton and Wanderlust headliner Noelle Connolly, with the knowledge and wisdom of our expert teaching team, our trainings are designed to give you the opportunity to thrive. You'll receive personal feedback and coaching, continued guidance through teachers’ practices and assisting programs, and the support of the friendly and diverse studio community. All training takes places in our world-class, dedicated facilities, and group sizes are strictly limited, so you have the space to connect and grow as a confident and empowered teacher.
Applications are now open for full and part-time 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training starting early 2017. Find out more at bodymindlife.com/teacher-training or email firstname.lastname@example.org Continuing your teaching journey? Explore our carefully curated courses at bodymindlife.com
Level 1, 84 Mary Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010 T. +61 2 9211 0178 | bodymindlife.com
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Email Why do you promote meat eating again? A vegetarian diet is so good for us humans and the animals and the environment, so why not encourage people to try it out? Be an inspiration to others — “be the change you want to see in the world”. Why not? Please reconsider the values promoted by this magazine. You can encourage lots of people into more humane and compassionate living. Worth trying, I’d say. Namaste, Maria Thanks Maria. You’re going to love this issue! Check out our amazing vegan recipes and a beautiful feature all about going vegan, as well as lots of tips on environmental consciousness and living a yogic life. - Ed
Connect and win 200hr, 350hr & 750hr yoga teacher training advanced diploma of yoga & meditation online x part-time x intensive brisbane x sunshine coast fully accredited x senior teachers
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nn t EVENTS
What’s On Your essential guide to what’s on in the yoga world
In Yoga Bali Retreat Bali November 21-27 Join Nicole Walsh and Rod Galbraith, founders of InYoga, for this beautiful and intimate retreat in Seminyak. Enjoy daily yoga and meditation, delicious, healthy meals and rejuvenation in a lush private villa. www.inyoga.com.au Shiva Rea Immersion
Sunshine Coast October 19-20 Coming to Australia as part of the Wanderlust tour, U.S. yoga superstar and creator of Prana Vinyasa Shiva Rea will guide students through the Evolution of Vinyasa – The Power of Movement Meditation. Shiva offers a wealth of knowledge from 25 years of teaching, research in India and global travels. www.shivarea.com Tickets available via the wanderlust website.
IYTA Open Day
Women’s Full-Day Kundalini Retreat with HarJiwan
Serpentine Western Australia Byron Bay
November 5 Embody, embrace and radiate the true beauty and depth of woman. Facilitated by WOW creator and long-time Kundalini teacher HarJiwan, this retreat will explore deep physical rejuvenation, hormonal health, transforming meditations for self-love, empowering core, deep stillness, a fire ceremony and more. www.harjiwan.com/schedule
Mark Robberds Workshops
Sydney October 22 Join the IYTA faculty and find out more about becoming a yoga teacher, or deepening your personal practice with Australia’s longest running yoga teacher training organisation. www.iyta.com.au
Sunshine Coast October 20-23 A fun and vibrant four-day celebration of mindful living featuring world-renowned yoga teachers, musicians, speakers and artists in the beautiful sunny coast. www.wanderlust.com/ festivals/sunshine-coast/
December 16-18 Celebrate summer solstice at WA’s annual yoga and music festival. Enjoy three days of yoga, dance, healing arts, world class live music and more, all in a pristine natural setting. www.flowfestival.com.au
Rainforest Yoga Retreat for Teens Cougal January 20-22 2017 Facilitated by senior teacher trainer for Byron Yoga Centre, high school and yoga teacher Chloe Thorogood, this retreat for teens is the perfect opportunity for teenagers to ground and bond with a like-minded group over three days of meditation, yoga, philosophy and connection to nature. www.teenyoga.co.uka
Tara Judelle AUS/NZ Tour Newcastle November 19-20 Manly November 26-December 2 Mark Robberds is one of few internationally certified Ashtanga teachers who has spent 10 years travelling regularly to India to practice with the late, legendary Guru Sri. K. Pattabhi Jois, and the last six years with his grandson R. Sharath, of Mysore. A must for committed Ashtanga yogis. wwwmarkrobberds.com
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Australia November New Zealand December Tara Judelle, creator of Emobied Flow, tours with a series of workshops and immersions that explore the physical and philosophical aspects of our practice. Embodied Flow is a continuum of movement and expression that draws from hatha, tantric and somatic movement systems to experience yoga as a living art form. www.tarajudelle.com
Academy Level 1 & 2 Yoga Teacher Training, Yogi Healers Course Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast. PLUS FULLY ACCREDITED ONLINE COURSES Yoga Australia, Yoga Alliance, MHA
Online Classes available for everyone! Become a member of My Health Yoga TV & practice at a time that suits you! First 30 days free!
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th l t t IN THE NOW
In the communi t y Spaces we love YOGA COMMUNITY MOURNS THE LOSS OF A GREAT MASTER
Influential yoga teacher TKV Desikachar passed away on August 8th in Chennai, aged 78. TKV Desikachar was the son and student of T. Krishnamacharya, the man widely recognised as “the father of modern yoga” and guru to BKS Iyengar and K Pattabhi Jois. Desikachar founded the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram in 1976 to honour and continue his father’s teachings.
INTERNATIONAL YOGA TEACHERS’ ASSOCIATION: CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF YOGA
AN ECO-FRIENDLY FAIRYLAND FOR YOGIS
Walking into Desa Seni, Canguu’s quirky village yoga resort, is like stepping into a childhood fantasy where fairies are real and miracles happen – eco-friendly, nature-loving yogic miracles, of course. This little pocket of paradise is truly magical. Freshly picked flowers line the paths during the day and colourful lanterns light the walkways in the evening. And then, there’s the yoga! Some world-renowned teachers guide students through daily classes as well as teacher training in the beautiful outdoor shalas and you can choose from up to seven classes a day (if you don’t stay on site you can also drop in for a class). The accommodation Float Centre isFreedom inviting and unique, with antique wood homes that have been imported from Indonesian islands, restored and refurbished. The owners are visionaries with a goal to create a truly eco-friendly and yogic community. Almost all of the food served at the restaurant is from the expansive gardens on site, and yogic philosophies guide the running of the resort. www.desaseni.com
2017 brings an exciting year of celebration, marking 50 years since the introduction of yoga to Australia. Roma Blair founded the International Yoga Teachers Association (IYTA) in 1967, driven by a desire to offer membership and teacher training that welcomed all lines of yoga. To celebrate this 50-year anniversary, IYTA is hosting a conference on October 20-22, 2017. Featuring speakers such as Simon Borg-Olivier and Donna Farhi, the event explores how to maintain the true essence of yoga while embracing change and development. Tickets available from November 2016 at www.iyta.com.au
DHARMA BUMS and QI YOGA SCHOLARSHIP Now you can transform your life and your wardrobe with this $7000 teacher training scholarship. The Qi yoga training, based in Sydney, is a comprehensive 12-month part-time course that’s recognised by Yoga Australia and facilitated by experienced teachers. Students will have the opportunity to explore elements of popular styles and are guided to develop their own approach throughout the training. The lucky scholarship winner gets all their tuition fees covered, plus $1000 worth of yoga wear from funky yoga label Dharma Bums. www.qiyoga.net/level-1-teacher-training-diploma/
NEW RETREATS IN BEAUTIFUL BYRON
SALTWATER YOGA STUDIOS – MELBOURNE Everything at Saltwater is done by nature – bamboo floors, recycled wood benches, organic cotton bolsters, cork blocks and biodegradable mats. Far infrared heating is used to save environmental resources and give students a more natural heating experience, and natural essential oils keep the space smelling sweet. Plants and salt crystals adorn the studio, ionising the atmosphere and purifying the air, and their range of products is all chemical-free. And, just when you thought it couldn’t get any more natural, all cleaning is done with vinegar and water, keeping the studio completely free of nasties. www.saltwateryogastudios.com.au
New to Byron Yoga Retreat Centre are three special interest weekend retreats: Yin Yoga, Cooking Weekend and a Surf and Yoga Retreat – a combination of the two main past-times in Byron Bay – surfing and yoga! All these new retreat programs are run in conjunction with the three-day Health and Yoga Retreats. Retreat guests enjoy a relaxing massage treatment, morning and afternoon yoga classes, beach walks, time to relax by the heated mineral salt swimming pool and delicious food – much of it grown on site in the lush organic gardens. For more information on these weekends plus the signature retreat programs see www.byronyoga.com
the latest IN THE NOW
the Ocean Save the Mermaids Plastic marine debris affects at least 267 species worldwide including sea turtles, whales, dolphins, marine birds and, of course, the mermaids! Californian organisation Save the Mermaids aims to educate the community and inspire positive action to make a change. And it’s catching on in Australia too, with many mermaids joining the tribe. The ambassadors for Save the Mermaid is a group of global ocean lovers who inspire change through hosting beach cleanups, zero waste events and fundraisers. Check out @Plasticfreemermaid, co-founder of the organisation, Byron Bay local and yoga teacher Kate Nelson who’s spreading the word in Australia. www.Iquitplastics.com
and Freediving in Bali
Superstar yogi and owner of Blissology, Eoin Finn, has created the EcoKarma Project to protect coral reefs. Eoin’s own passion for nature inspired the creation of the project. “Yoga is the second healthiest thing we can do,” says Eoin. “Having a relationship with nature is the first.” He explains, “The coral reefs are like the rainforests of the ocean. They cover a mere 1% of the ocean floor yet astoundingly they are home to approximately 25% of all marine life.” EcoKarma hopes to inspire ecologists and yogis to manifest loving action to protect our oceans. Find out about the project and upcoming EcoKarma events at www.blissology.com/eco-karma/project
Ethical Fashion from Marine Debris If you’re into being mindfully fashionable but are sick of swimming through op shop bins to find your perfect summer swimsuit, then you’re in luck. Many brands are now creating fabrics from marine debris, including sustainable swimwear creators OceanZen whose bikinis are made from recycled fishing nets and plastic bottles from the ocean. The creator has a degree in Environmental Marine Science and, on top of creating funky sustainable swimwear, is passionate about building awareness around marine conservation projects and the environment. www.oceanzenbikini.com
Rebuilding the coral reef - Yogi Style
PHOTO: VERTICAL YOGA/FRANKIE OWEN; LIFEOFRILEYDESIGN
Fancy a little free diving on the side of your yoga? Fusion Freediving and Yoga have got you covered. Founded by passionate free divers and yogis, the philosophy of the centre is to create a space for students to learn powerful and enriching life skills, using the practices of yoga and freediving to support one another and creating the freedom to explore the ocean. This is just one of the many freediving schools that use yoga to support their current programs. Freediving schools are recognising that the connection between body and mind that we gain from our yoga practice becomes a powerful tool in the underwater world. www.fusionfreedive.com
the latest IN THE NOW
CHEERS TO VEGAN PUBS HONOURING
Mother Nature The Buddha found enlightenment at the base of a tree, and the first yogis practiced in the forest. The connection between yoga and nature is clear, and we love doing what we can to salute our dear mother nature.
Sick of ordering a serve of chips for dinner when catching up with friends over a beer? Well fear no more because vegan pubs are now a thing. We’re not sure if the traditional yogis would agree, but we salute any project that brings cruelty-free living to the masses. Sydney’s inner-west Red Lion Hotel has just opened a new vegan-only bistro: The Green Lion.The wholly plant-based menu (including the wine) consists of traditional pub grub with a vegan twist. Co-founder Bhavani Baumann says, “We’re just doing what we love to do, to show how yummy and tasty it can be to cut down on your meat consumption.” We’ll drink to that! www.facebook.com/thegreenlionbistro
Have your coffee and eden too Californian company Reduce. Reuse. Grow. has a creative solution to the problem of disposable cup waste. The organisation has created biodegradable cups embedded with seeds that grow into something delightful. The consumer only needs to unravel the cup, soak it in water for five minutes and then plant it. Or, if you’re feeling a little lazy, rest assured, your cup will easily decompose in 180 days, and you can still consider yourself a good, tree-huggin’ yogi. The kickstarter campaign is well underway, and testing the manufacturing processes has begun. With every product served, Reduce. Reuse. Grow. will plant a native species in return to help offset reforestation, overgrazing and fire destroyed land.
City dwellers who want to express their green thumb can now indulge in a little urban Hydroponic gardening – a method of growing plants that’s suitable for both indoors and outdoors, and requires no soil. This not only takes gardening to a whole new, clean level for yogis who don’t love getting their hands dirty, but avoids many problems associated with soil. Instead of a garden, think futuristiclike growing aggregate that can include sand, gravel etc, allowing nutrients to circulate more freely and head straight to the root. The environmental benefits, compared to traditional farming, include less water use, less space, no chemicals and increased growth time. All you need to grow hydro is light, nutrient solution and a system. We like the look of Nutrifield’s Aura – an elegantly designed miniature farm for $99. nutrifield.bigcartel.com
www.planttrash.com JUMP ON THE WASTE-FREE BANDWAGON Individuals are doing it. Businesses are doing it. Festivals are doing it. Going waste-free is all the rage. Be inspired by Melbourne-based Erin, aka The Rogue Ginger, who produces no waste. No sending anything to landfill, no putting anything in the bin, no plastic. www.therogueginger.com
th l t t MEDIA
THE WELLNESS BOOK VICTORIA This cute coffee table book is your guide to all things wellness in Victoria. Create your own urban retreat with the state’s abundance of health and wellness activities. A great resource book for VIC-based health practitioners. $49.99 www.smudgeeats.com.au
HEARTS WIDE OPEN – Lulu & Mischka The second album of the enchanting duo, Heart’s Wide Open, features Lulu’s mellifluous voice and Mischka’s relaxed vocals on 10 tracks of mantras from Vedic, Muslim, Buddhist and Sikh traditions fused with English lyrics to open the heart. Sweet trickles of love, union and peaceful vibrations are the perfect accompaniment to any yoga class and relaxation. $15 www.luluandmischka.com
People and planet friendly clothing designed for a playful lifestyle. All ethically made with sustainable, organic and recycled materials
Writer, surfer and yogi Sally MacKinnon brings us he Dharma of Surfing: Wisdom from the Water for Life. The unique blend of photography and musings describe how the writer found joy in the beauty of the ocean and mother nature, and celebrates the spirit of sharing, mindfulness and gratitude. $30 www.thedharmaofsurfing.com
Hippyluxe App Now you can find fancy eating venues to suit your yogic dietary needs with this fun new app headed by nutritionist and sports dietician Lorna Garden. Use the app to find eateries that are fully organic, raw, vegan or gluten free using the filters. Just one click takes you to the café’s website or to maps. The app aims to promote the growth of healthy, sustainable eating in Australia. $2.99 available on the app store under HippyLuxe.
Australian Yoga Journal UHDGHUV UHFHLYH Rƀ any purchase over $35 Using Coupon Code at Checkout AYJTAKE10 Shop online justbeapparel.com Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Search Planet Ark Recycling Week
power down for a
PHOTO: DANIL NEVSKY/STOCKSY
Social media can help us feel more connected and content. (Admit it: You’ve experienced a pick-me-up after posting a cool Tree Pose shot to Instagram!) Yet, if you’re scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the like more than a few times a day, it may actually dampen your mood, and keep you from achieving sound sleep. In one recent study, scientists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found that those who check social media most often each week are 2.7 times more likely to have depression compared to those who check least frequently. Another study, published in the journal Preventive Medicine, found that frequent users are three times more likely to have sleep disturbances than those who scroll less often—even when they aren’t surfing right before bed (which we know messes with slumber). While researchers say the jury is still out on what’s causing what—does depression or insomnia cause us to hop on social media to fill a void, or is social media creating that void?—the research may be reason enough to swap some screen time for a call to a friend or a 15-minute meditation. JEN MURPHY
NEW meditation stools and colourful cotton blankets Order online now or call us on 03 9888 6677 597 Canterbury Road Surrey Hills VIC 3127
HARMONIES Ayurveda, being the sister science of yoga, is a holistic system of medicine that values the health of the mind and spirit as much as the health of the physical body. One of my favourite areas to study is the realm of our mind, our consciousness and the cultivation of Sattva.
So what is Sattva? The sanskrit word Sattva can be interpreted to mean light, purity of consciousness and living in alignment with oneâ€™s true self. It is one of the three gunas (qualities) of the mind in Ayurvedic medicine that can be cultivated for a healthy, balanced, harmonious life. In Ayurveda, health is considered to be the result of living in harmony with yourself and the world around you. When we are in harmony with ourselves, we are established with our own truth and connected to our bodyâ€™s profound wisdom and intelligence. Sattva is our true balanced state. Balance occurs when we are nourished on every level. This requires listening to what your body needs and taking daily actions consistent with this wisdom. Sattva influences our thoughts, words and actions by intelligently guiding us towards that which is in alignment with our highest potential and dharma (purpose in life).
Cultivate a Sattvic mind and live blissfully in tune with yourself and the world around you. By Lorien Waldron
yogajournal.com.au november/december 2016
PHOTO: MICHAL KRAKOWIAK/ISTOCKPHOTO.COM
I like to think of Sattva as a quality of mind that gives us the ability to tune into our body and listen to subtle cues; a state of mindful self-knowledge and spacious awareness. Sattva is something we can all cultivate in our daily lives to enhance our practice on the mat as well as deepen our experience of ourselves, our relationships, our work and life as a whole. When our mind is predominantly Sattvic, we feel at peace, focused, content, grateful, loving, loved, whole and balanced.
How does Sattva relate to your yoga practice?
The practice of yoga and meditation directly nourishes and increases Sattva in the mind and body. With greater clarity and balance in the mind (Sattva), there is more opportunity for mindful, fluid movement, resulting in a more nourishing authentic and sustainable practice for body, mind and spirit. With yoga becoming more and more popular in the West, it is more important than ever to ensure that you are practicing with integrity and with awareness. We love yoga because it is a practice that actually develops Sattvic qualities within us. Breathing, moving and sitting on your mat are not the only ways to cultivate Sattva, however, as we can also cultivate these qualities in our everyday activities in life. As human beings, we are influenced by our environment, the food we eat, the media/literature we consume, the clothes we wear, the people we spend time with, the relationships we have, the work we do, the conversations we have and the air we breathe. All of these simple things make a big difference to our wellbeing as a whole.
Commune with nature: At least once a day spend quality time outside in nature. Go for a walk in the park, watch the sunrise, swim in the ocean, walk on soft sand or simply step into a garden and take a moment to marvel at the beauty of a flower and breathe in the fresh oxygen that surrounds and emanates from trees and plants. Nature brings us into balance, grounds electromagnetic energy back into the earth and is a natural de-stressor. Less stress equals more Sattvic bliss. 2. Commune with Self: Take time each morning when you wake up and each evening before bed to connect with yourself. It can be something simple such as writing your thoughts and feelings in a journal or taking five slow, deep breaths with your eyes closed. Other ways you might enjoy connecting are through prayer, dance, singing, art, gardening, drawing or listening to music you love. Choose a medium that allows you to connect with yourself and one that nourishes your spirit. 3. Beautify your home: Your home is your temple. Turn your home into a place of beauty by devoting a little time each day to your home environment. Elements that can add beauty to your home include fresh flowers, soft warm lighting, indoor plants, soft colours and furnishings, candles, incense, fresh sunlight, fresh air, inspiring artwork, photos of loved ones, and gentle relaxing music. 4. Find your people: Choose to surround yourself with a community of like-minded people who inspire and uplift you. Seek out friends who are interested in the same things you are, who are living their life in balance, who are warm, kind, generous, honest and loving. Make an effort to connect with a community of people who are on the same path as you via yoga groups, meditation groups, art workshops, retreats and other areas of study and interest that light you up. 5. Eat wholesome wholefoods: Feed your body organic whole foods including fresh seasonal vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, fresh herbs, spices, healthy oils, greens and plenty of fresh filtered water daily. Avoid stimulating and processed foods such as coffee and chocolate as they can overstimulate the nervous system. Trust your intuition in the kitchen and make nourishing your body with food a sacred ritual. Lastly, create a relaxing environment to eat in by lighting a candle, playing some soft music and sitting while you eat so that your nervous system is relaxed and your body can focus on digestion. Love your food and your body!
The cultivation of Sattva through our actions on and off the mat, allows us to live in harmony with our true nature, thus creating a foundation of integrity, balance and health inside and out!
p p bliss in full action. Itâ€™s like nectar that every cell of your body and spirit wants to soak up and drink in.
Luxury Yoga Retreats for Mums & Bubs
Yoga teacher and studio owner Amanda Vella talks to Jessica Humphries about creating a loving yoga community and the beauty of an authentic life.
AMANDA VELLA, 36, is as down to earth as they come. She’s not a yoga celebrity with thousands of Instagram followers. You won’t ﬁnd her globetrotting or festival hopping because she’s quite content being a yogi mumma as well as taking care of her bustling yoga community. Her studio, Illuminate Yoga, is in Sydney’s multicultural southwest, where she was born and raised, and is a heartfelt creation that aims to “heal, awaken and empower by sharing yoga in ways that are intelligent and BS-free”. Amanda ﬁrst came to yoga at 21 when she was amidst a journalism degree and pregnant with her ﬁrst daughter. “Like many women I found pregnancy an invitation to start properly looking after my body,” she says. It wasn’t as easy then to ﬁnd yoga classes, so she printed off a prenatal yoga sequence and continued to spend the next three years teaching herself via the internet, books and DVDs. Her early practices in a studio environment were enlightening. “What I felt during those classes was unforgettable and it’s what I continue to gain from my practice. It was a homecoming, one that I experience each time I get on a mat or take my seat for meditation. I can’t even imagine a life without yoga.” The dream for Illuminate Yoga began in 2009. “I was working as a primary school teacher full-time and teaching a few classes on the side at a local physiotherapy clinic. I convinced the clinic owner to lease me the room I was teaching in to launch Illuminate in 2010. What started out as a one-woman show with four classes a week started to generate a lot of energy. In just three years we moved to a bigger unit, rebranded and we now offer 30
“My greatest learning as a yoga teacher has been around authenticity. I can only offer my interpretation of what yoga is in my unique voice. That will resonate with some students and not with others.” to herself. “My greatest learning as a yoga teacher has been around authenticity. I can only offer my interpretation of what yoga is in my unique voice. That will resonate with some students and not with others and I’ve learned to be comfortable with that. “I have found that teaching yoga is more about relationships than anything else. You are meeting people where they are at, creating a safe space for them to turn inward, to wake up to what’s happening in their bodies, minds and hearts and it’s extraordinary to watch. I am always humbled by the opportunity I have to connect with students and to help facilitate their discoveries.” From her personal practice as a student, Amanda has discovered a deep acceptance and love for herself. “I think people throw that concept around a fair bit but I’m only just starting to appreciate what it means. It comes back to being real and shedding layers and layers of conditioning. I am constantly being directed to what is present, what is real and how I can be less resistant to the way my life is unfolding.”
PHOTO: SUSAN L’ESTRANGE
classes over seven days a week.” Community has always been at the core of Amanda’s vision. She tells me, “So many wpeople see it as a home away from home, which gives me so much joy because this is the community I was born and raised in.” Amanda fondly expresses that the students who come through her doors every day and the teachers she works with are her greatest sources of inspiration. She chats enthusiastically about some exciting projects on the horizon, including workshops at the studio with internationally acclaimed yoga teachers and a new personal website, amandavella.com.au. As a teacher, Amanda has discovered deep learning, and the space to be true
Designer Yoga Apparel & Lifestyle Byron Bay
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Keeko Oil Pulling Sachets Oil pulling is an ancient wellness practice and a beautiful addition to your morning routine. These cold-pressed organic coconut oil sachets are infused with goodness for ultimately healthy teeth and gums. $38.95 www.keekooil.com Made from Tamanu extract from the which has been use by African he variety of skin www.arianrhoda
Funch Paleo Balls Infused with the health-boosting powers of turmeric and ginger, these paleo goodies have been created with on-the-go yogis in mind. $14.95 www.funch.com.au
Tre ts Skilfully crafted, blended and packed in Australia with ethically sourced, organic ingredients, these teas come in a variety of delicious blends designed to enhance your wellness. A percentage of the profits are donated to environmental organisations worldwide. Did we mention theyâ€™re also very tasty? From $11 www.lovetea.com.au
Our favourite yoga goodies on and off the mat!
Slinkii Organic Ethically produc 100% cotton, th comfy tee allow while giving you as you practice. $
Style Archer Malas Australian-made and with the magic of meditation in mind, these unique Enlightened Malas are made from sandalwood and Lapis Lazuli – a stone linked to the Third Eye and renowned for encouraging activation of the higher mind. $100 www.archermalabeads.com.au In the Soulshine Tank This adorable Eat fruit not friends muscle tee contains a gentle but powerful message – and it’s super cute! Stonewashed for a vintage look, 100% micro-modal soft fabric, and ethically made in Bali with vegan inks. $49 www.inthesoulshine.com.au
Akasha Strap Handcrafted in Guatemala from re-imagined traditional women’s belts (with a mission to promote conscious shopping and support local communities), these beautiful one-of-a-kind yoga straps function as a carrier for your yoga mat and a prop for your practice. $79 www.akashayogapieces.com
ck l-natural cork blocks are dly, renewable and sustainable de from the bark of a cork oak ee. And they’re the perfect practice companion! From $13 www.empind.com.au
LovEarth Yoga Mat These all-natural yoga mats made from natural tree rubber and jute are not only environmentally friendly but wonderful to practise on. The mats are part of a push to lessen the ecological footprint of yoga in Australia. $87 www.lovearth.com.au
ENSO Print Tank Zen inspired tank made from a blend of Organic Cotton and Recycled Wood $55 www.justbeapparel.com
Enrich your existence and experience the flow of good fortune by embracing this magical Kundalini Yoga and five-part meditation Kriya with HarJiwan.
WE ARE NOW well and truly into spring, and the energy of green is all around! Green is related to the Heart Lotus and also to prosperity. Now is an optimal time for healing, rejuvenation, growth, expansion and increasing our vitality. It is also a powerful time to increase our own personal abundance. Gifted by nature at this time of year with abundance all around us in the form of budding new life, ﬂowers, lush green nature and the combination of wind, rain and sunshine, we naturally feel the excitement in the air. We can use this newness and fresh birthing energy to attract and manifest our own growth, giving birth to our dreams and personal expansion. The following exercises are ancient and powerful tools to help us tap into the ﬂow of abundance, good luck and good fortune. Complete each exercise in the exact order given for three minutes, as written in the explanation. Try this daily for 40 days and watch your garden of love, abundance, opportunity and joy expand.
TIP: To enhance the richness in your life even further, along with these exercises, practice the attitude of gratitude! Miracles happen when we open our hearts, serve, give and are truly Great-Full for everything we already have. Become a magnet for goodness, and happiness shall fall at your feet.
OPENING MANTRA 1) Sit with a tall, straight spine and apply Jalandhara Bandha (Neck Lock). Bring your hands to the centre of your chest in Prayer Pose and chant or say the Adi Mantra: ONG NAMO GURU DEV NAMO three times. This mantra calls upon the Creator, the Divine Teacher within us all. It establishes a strong, clear connection so that we may receive the highest guidance, inspiration and energy. We are guided through our practice by our higher consciousness rather than our Ego and personality. Called the Adi Mantra, this mantra translates as, “I bow to the One Creator, I bow to the Divine Teacher, to the Inﬁnite Wisdom within.”
STRETCH POSE: To activate the navel point and the power to self-transform Lie down ﬂat on your spine, with your lower back gently imprinted into the ground by activating the deep abdominal muscles. Lengthen the back of your neck and raise your head, hands and heels 15cm off the ground, but keep your shoulder blades pressing into ground. Really stretch your ﬁngertips and arms towards your toes and press your thighs powerfully together while radiating the energy of the legs away from you, thus stretching out powerfully from your core. Pull the lower front ribs toward your pelvic bones and elongate your spine. Your eyes are open and focused strongly at your toes. Begin rapid Breath of Fire through your nose. Keep up for one to three minutes. To end, inhale deeply, and suspending the breath apply Mula Bandha for 10 seconds. Exhale and relax.
SUBAGH KRIYA: A five-part complete Kundalini meditation set
2) Stretch your arms out and up at a 60-degree angle. Keep the elbows absolutely straight throughout the entire exercise. Spread the ﬁngers as wide as you can and make them as stiff and tight as possible; really feel each ﬁnger like steel. Now crisscross the arms in front of the face, keeping the palms facing forward. Alternate the position of the arms, so the left arm crosses in front of the right, and the right then crosses in front of the left. Continue alternately crossing the arms, keeping the elbows straight and the ﬁngers open wide and stiff. Move at a rate of one cross per second. Silently vibrate the sound “Har” within your mind each time the arms cross.
1) Sit cross-legged, with a tall, straight spine and apply Jalandhara Bandha (Neck Lock) by gently drawing the back of the throat toward the spine, lengthening the back of the neck and lifting your chest. Bend the elbows down by the sides, upper arms relaxed, and place the palms in front of your chest. Close your eyes and, through your closed eyes, look to the tip of the nose. Now strike the outer sides of the hands together, forcefully hitting the area from the base of the little ﬁngers (Mercury ﬁngers) to the base of the palm. Then turn your hands over so they face down and strike the sides of the index ﬁngers (Jupiter ﬁngers) together. Alternately strike these two positions, striking hard at a rate of one strike per second. With each strike, chant out loud the sound “Har”. To create the sound, hit the tip of the tongue to the upper palate just behind the front teeth and pull the navel with each “Har”.
Do each exercise for three minutes in the exact order given, with a 30-second rest between each exercise.
3) In the same position, take your arms out and up at a 60-degree angle. Create ﬁsts with your hands with the thumbs on the inside. Now squeeze the thumbs really tight with your ﬁsts, as though you are squeezing water out of them. Again with your elbows straight throughout the exercise, move the arms together at the same time in small backward circles. Keep the squeezing pressure on the thumbs with your ﬁsts. As you circle your arms, chant the mantra “God” powerfully from your navel. For each backward circle, chant “God” at a rate of one backward circle per second. Move the arms powerfully so that the entire spine shakes. The mantra “God” stands for the Generating, Organising, Delivering/Destroying principle of the Universe. It’s like we are dropping the “E” in EGO and replacing it with a “D” at the end, making it G.O.D to ride the energy of God. Think of it as getting your Ego out of the way to allow the Higher Power in you to come through for guidance and to orchestrate the events of your life, allowing you to be in ﬂow with the bigger picture, Higher Will or Grand Orchestrated Design.
Now, sit in stillness and meditate on all that you are grateful for in your life for a few minutes. Then come to lie on your back in Savasana and let go completely. Stay here for three to ﬁve minutes to fully integrate this powerful Kriya.
“If you have achieved the attitude of gratitude everything in the world will come to you.” ~ Yogi Bhajan TECHNIQUE TIPS • Throughout the entire Kriya, apply Jalandhara Bhandha (Neck Lock). • At the end of each three-minute exercise, inhale deeply as you apply Mula Bandha by contracting in and up the rectum, sex organs, and Navel Point. Stretch and squeeze the spine vertically upward, face relaxed — feel contained and concentrated. Hold for about 10 seconds then exhale and relax. • Always tune in with the Adi Mantra before any practice of Kundalini Yoga and Meditation. • Enjoy the magic of this potent Kriya.
MANTRA TRANSLATIONS FROM THE FIVE-PART KUNDALINI MEDITATION * Har translates as God, speciﬁcally the abundant creative aspect of God. * Har Haray Haree Wha-Hay Guroo can be translated as the three qualities of the seed sound Har, Creative Inﬁnity — Seed, Flow and Completion, unto the Inﬁnite. HarJiwan offers specialised mentoring programs for women online and in person assisting women to live in self-empowerment, vitality and happiness. She is a highly experienced Kundalini Yoga teacher, healer, wellness facilitator and founder of HarJiwanYoga and WOW Vortex (an online mentoring program for women). She teaches workshops, master classes, intensives and retreats nationally and in Byron Bay. To find out more about her WOW programs and HarJiwan’s work go to www.HarJiwan.com
PHOTOS: PHOEBE MALONE
4) Bend your arms so your elbows point to the sides. The forearms are parallel to the ground and the palms face your body around the level of the diaphragm. The right hand moves up a good few centimetres as the left hand moves down a few centimetres, in a strong chopping action. The hands move alternately up and down between the heart and navel area. As the hands move, chant the mantra, “Har Haray Haree Wah-Hay Guroo” in a deep monotone from the navel. Complete one repetition of the mantra approximately every four seconds. For the ﬁrst minute chant this mantra out loud, for the next minute whisper it powerfully out loud, and for the ﬁnal minute whistle it.
5) With a straight spine, keeping Jalandhara Bandha applied, bend your elbows and place them parallel to the ground. Place the right forearm on your left forearm at shoulder height, with palms facing down. Close your eyes. Maintain a very steady posture. Sit regally, like a masterful manifesting yogi. Breathing very slowly, deeply and with control over your breath, inhale for 20 seconds, suspend the breath for 20 seconds, then exhale slowly with control for 20 seconds — so that you take one breath per minute. If this is challenging, begin with 15 seconds for each part and slowly build up to 20 seconds. This is potent mind training — life mastery requires mind mastery, which begins with breath mastery! Over time, this will become easier and you shall perfect it.
with Janie Larmour
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Courses online for: Weight loss Back Pain Women’s Health Psoas release Bladder Strength Period Pain and more... Studio – 8 St Peters Lane, Darlinghurst Online studio www.zenkiyoga.com Online courses www.zenkiyogatherapy.com
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DON’T SWEAT the small stuff
WE LIKE TO GET SWEATY. But we don’t like to stink. That being said, we’re also pretty passionate about what we put on our pits. Why? Your skin is your body’s largest organ and it soaks up whatever you use on it. Here’s the scary (and sad) thing - most of us have been tricked into thinking that our bath and beauty products are all approved as super safe. Unfortunately this isn’t the case; most conventional cosmetics (deodorant and antiperspirants included) are laden with toxic chemicals, the safety of which are dubious at best and downright devilish at worst. We could go on and on about this topic but suffice to say, whatever your country’s governing body is for regulating the safety of cosmetics, they’re probably doing a very average job of making sure your beauty loot is safe and clean. Educate yourself, read labels and vote with your dollar by purchasing products that are made from natural ingredients and won’t jam up your body with a bunch of toxic chemicals.
Back to the pit-y party. Let’s get started with a couple of quick definitions. What’s the difference between an anti-perspirant and a deodorant? The goal of an antiperspirant is to actually stop your body from sweating. Two strikes. First strike: your body is designed to sweat as a way of detoxifying and cooling the body, but the apocrine glands in your pits are also responsible for releasing hormones and pheromones that act as a love potion number 9. Yeah, you read right … your sweat might actually broadcast a little “come hither” message to your soul mate. You really want to shut that down? Second strike: antiperspirants don’t just artificially block your body’s natural process, they do so with the use of chemicals. No thanks. The best bet is to stick with a deodorant. Rather than shutting down the sweat, the goal of deodorant is to manage the odour-causing bacteria that lives on our skin. When this naturally occurring bacteria mingles with the fat and organic compounds released from the sweat glands, they produce some stinky offspring, so if you can manage the bacteria, you can manage the funk.
So you’re skipping the antiperspirant in favour of a deodorant, but which one is best for your bod? Conventional deodorants have a bevy of bad-news ingredients from parabens to phlalates, aluminium to triclosan, as well as the benign sounding but usually chemical-loaded ingredient, “fragrance” which (unless it explicitly says, “derived from essential oils”) is shorthand for “undisclosed scary chemicals”. What all of these ingredients add up to is a cocktail of possibly endocrine disrupting, carcinogenic, allergy inducing, immunity bashing bull-honkey that has no business being on your skin. Needless to say that many of these ingredients are also damaging for the environment. Between petrochemical-based ingredients and pressure pack spray cans pumping VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) into our air, conventional deodorants and antiperspirants aren’t doing the Earth any favours. If all the drugstore deodorants and antiperspirants are out of the question, where do we turn? Don’t worry, we’re not going to suggest you rub crystals and unicorn tears in your pits.
PHOTO: GREENARTPHOTOGRAPHY/ ISTOCKPHOTO.COM
Active yogi Caitlin Nowland explains how to make the switch to natural deodorants.
There are some really good natural deodorants that will be kind to your body and give B.O. the boot. I’m sharing a handful of the best natural deodorants I’ve tried. The reason I’m sharing a few faves rather than just one pick is this: everyone’s body chemistry is unique. What works for one person might not be a perfect fit for another, so we think it’s ideal to give you a few options to try. If you’ve been innocently slathering a bunch of toxic chemicals on your pits, consider yourself armed with the info you need to make a change!
Black Chicken Axilla Deodorant Paste Very effective and very popular for a reason! That said, if you have sensitive skin the baking soda in this paste may irritate your pits. $18.50 blackchicken.com.au
Agent Nateur Holi (stick) No. 3 Deodorant Bonus points for pretty packaging and a stick applicator. Ideal for the paste-averse or those who aren’t super sweaty types. $18-$19 www.agentnateur.com
Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant Paste (Available in a variety of scents)
Living Libations Poetic Pits
Inexpensive and reliable, this is a solid option. $14.95 schmidtsdeodorant.com
These oils not only do the trick, they also support your body. A base of pure, organic, undiluted sandalwood oil harmonises the endocrine system while a host of other plant botanicals alchemise your sweat into something sweet. Easy to apply, just roll on and go. Favourite blends for men are Maverick and Emerald or try Radiant Earth or RoseGlow for women. $30-$90 livinglibations.com
You’ll notice that two of my top natural deodorant picks are pastes. How a paste works: scoop out a pea-sized amount and rub into your pits with a fingertip. Sounds a little different, but it ain’t no thing (promise). If you’re totally averse to a paste, try the Living Libations roll-on oils or the Agent Nateur stick.
Wellness whiz, writer, yogi and student of life Caitlin Nowland lives in beautiful Byron Bay with her husband and children. Caitlin is devoted to helping others upgrade their lives through meditation, holistic wellbeing and shared wisdom. Dive into guided meditations, recipes, rituals and more at caitlincady.com
Help children foster internal calm and happiness with a few easy yogic techniques. By Loraine Rushton WOULD you like your child to have a clear mind, stable emotions and a sense of self-awareness? As we transition from spring to summer, it is the perfect time of the year to create a clear mind and develop new patterns of thought. Spring is a time of rebirth and creating the new. We see this throughout the environment as nature comes back to life, sprouting new flowers; the buzzing of insects and fresh plant growth surrounds us. Last issue, we looked at using yoga and diet to create physically healthy and happy kids. The next step, as we transition from spring to summer, is to clear their thoughts and create new beliefs, new attitudes, and develop a new relationship with that little voice in their heads (you know that little voice, don’t you!). To do this, we first need to provide a practice of using tools and techniques that are effective for cleaning out the head; think of it as spring cleaning the mind!
Here are my top techniques to clear children’s minds:
yogajournal.com.au november/december 2016
Repetitive movement with breath is the ultimate tool in the yoga toolbox for helping to bring clarity and calm to the mind. With children it works fast. Try this one exercise and watch the results. Ask your child to lie on their back with their knees bent and feet slightly apart. Tell them to grab their ankles and say, “Imagine you are about to build the Sydney Harbour Bridge.” As they exhale, they lift their hips high and as they breathe out, they lower their hips down. This can be done quickly to quiet a busy mind, or slowly to focus the mind before a task that requires concentration. A seven-year-old boy I worked with to help his digestive tummy upsets, loved to imagine squashing his worries every time he lowered his hips. This technique works really well with children of all ages.
4. Chuck your junk
2. Mindful bell
Often the mind is so full of thoughts of worry, anxiety, upset or anger, that it is hard to find clarity or peace until we can clear them out. Children as young as three are experiencing stress, our primary schools have children on medication for stress and anxiety and our high schools are filled with teens on anti-depressants. Yoga is a science for dealing with the mind and the impact on children is profound. Give your child a time limit to write a list of all the things they are worrying about, fearful of, all the negative thoughts they have about themselves, about others and their life. Then tell them, “We are going to call all these thoughts junk, because that’s what they are. You are now going to chuck it.” Then the children tear it all up and throw it in the bin. Children and teens find this an empowering way to have control over their thoughts and it allows them to find a calm, clear happiness afterwards.
One of the best ways for children to clear their minds is to focus on sound. I have used this technique to quieten many a busy mind and a chatty children’s yoga class. Have your bell ready; the
Teaching and empowering children with techniques to quiet busy minds and clear negative thoughts and worries will not only help them now, but also serve them for the rest of their lives.
1. Alternate nostril breathing
3. Sydney Harbour Bridge
This simple version of alternate nostril breathing can be done with children aged from four years old. It is a great way to quickly clear the busyness of the mind and to calm little anxious or upset kids. Sitting cross-legged and facing each other, say, “Take your pointer fingers to the bridge of your nose and slide down the hard boney part to the squishy part of your nose.” They then breathe out all the air in their lungs. Instruct them to, “Press and block your right nostril, breathe in through your left nostril. Breathe out through your left nostril. Pause. Block your left nostril, breathe in through your right nostril. Then, breathe out through your right nostril.” Keep this going for 4-6 rounds or until your child is calm.
PHOTO: SIMONSKAFAR/ ISTOCKPHOTO.COM
Tibetan bells work especially well. Explain to the children, “In a minute we are going to close our eyes and I am going to ding the bell. Listen very carefully to the ringing sound until you can’t hear it anymore and then open your eyes.” This would work especially well in classrooms when teachers are wanting to regain students’ focus and attention.
onnect With Yogi
sense Meditate on the physical sensations in your body and welcome inner peace and an enhanced capacity for wellbeing.
By Richard Miller PhD
BODYSENSING Meditation can help you tune in to your body as sensation, so that you can start to respond. One of the most effective meditative practices for refining your responses is something I call bodysensing which is a practice to help you feel embodied, in which your physical sensations can inform and change your behaviours and mind. With a regular practice of bodysensing, you can calm your central nervous system so that you can achieve deep physical and mental relaxation, enhance your body’s natural resiliency for dealing with stress, and grow your capacity to experience innate, unchanging feelings of health, wholeness, and wellbeing.
YOUR BODY SPEAKS
A regular practice of bodysensing teaches you how to scan, perceive, and attend to the subtle physical messages your body is constantly sending you about your health, emotions, thoughts, and wellbeing, before those messages become dramatic. What do I mean by this? I once had a yoga teacher who began each class using a soft, soothing voice. As class progressed, his voice grew louder, until by the end he was often shouting. So I asked him, “Why do you talk so loudly?” He responded, “When I feel that you aren’t listening, I turn up the volume.” Like this teacher, your body turns up its volume to get your attention when you don’t listen to its subtle messages. It’s helpful to learn to detect your body’s subtle cues so that you don’t have to wait until it needs to shout for your attention. When you’re able to respond to early stress symptoms, such as heaviness, tightness, discomfort, or irritation, you won’t need to experience more distressing and possibly harmful conditions, such as anxiety, high blood pressure, low blood sugar, and fatigue, that could otherwise arise.
THE FEELING OF BEING The simple exercises that follow are designed to reveal the powerful effect of sensing and feeling versus thinking. As you switch from thinking to feeling, you activate a natural relaxation response throughout your body. The longer you are able to simply feel a particular body sensation, the deeper this relaxation response will be. Research reveals that the regular practice of bodysensing, and the deep relaxation that results, grows brain-body connections through the creation and strengthening of neural pathways. Be patient with yourself as you find a seat and try the following practices.
PRACTICE 1: Sensing your hands • Think of your body as a field of energy that extends in all directions, beyond any boundary your mind can imagine.
• With eyes closed, bring your attention to your left hand and notice any sensations that are present. Then let go of thinking about your hand: Thinking keeps you in your head, while sensing brings you into the actual sensations that are present in your hand. Notice and welcome sensations of heaviness, lightness, warmth, coolness, tingling, throbbing, pulsing, or shimmering. Can you sense how your hand is actually a field of radiant sensation? If so, how far out does this field extend? Keep feeling your hand as sensation, without going into judging or reacting to what you’re sensing.
• Next, feel yourself inside your right hand. As with your left hand, without going into thinking, experience the actual sensations that are present. Sense your right hand as a field of radiant sensation. How far out does this field extend?
• Now, feel yourself inside both hands, as sensation, at the same time. Take your time. As much as possible, refrain from thinking or commenting about the sensation. Instead, keep feeling your two hands as a unified field of radiant sensation that extends into space.
• Slowly open and close your eyes several times while continuing to feel your hands as radiant sensation.
• Then, attune to and welcome sensations throughout the rest of your body. Feel your entire body as radiant sensation.
PRACTICE 2: Complete bodysensing • First, affirm your intention during this practice of meditation to focus on sensation rather than thinking, just as you did in the exercise above. Then, feel the universal life force that’s enlivening every atom, molecule, and cell of your body as vibrant sensation. As you do this, welcome feelings of peace, groundedness, security, ease, wholeness, and wellbeing. While breathing slowly through your nose, begin sensing your body, knowing that whatever you experience is perfect just as it is.
• Be aware of sensations in your jaw, mouth, and tongue. Notice how, as one layer of sensation is experienced, it
PHOTO: DEAN MITCHELL/ISTOCKPHOTO.COM
HAVE YOU EVER noticed feeling light and physically relaxed when you’re happy? Or noticed sensations of unease in your heart, stomach, or gut when you’re upset? These sensations are your body’s way of getting your attention, so that you can respond to whatever life throws at you with deep inner feelings of wholeness, resilience, and wellbeing.
“Research reveals that the regular practice of bodysensing, and the deep relaxation that results, grows brain-body connections through the creation and strengthening of neural pathways.”
• Sense your cheeks and nose and the sensation in both nostrils.
• Give up thinking, and sense your eyes as radiant sensation.
• Sense your forehead, cool and soft. And your scalp and the back of your head and neck.
• Sense your shoulders, arms, hands, and fingers. Welcome both arms and hands simultaneously as radiant sensation.
• Bring attention into your upper chest and
• Sense your pelvis, buttocks, and hips, and then your thighs, legs, feet, and toes. Welcome both legs and feet as radiant sensation. Both legs are heavy and at ease.
• Sense the entire front of your body, and then the back. Next, sense the left side of your body, and then the right. Feel sensation inside your body and on the surface.
• Feel yourself as spacious, open, and aware.
• Focus on feeling your body as radiant sensation, while welcoming feelings
of security, groundedness, peace, and wellbeing.
• When you’re ready, gently open and close your eyes several times. Move your body as you reorient yourself to your surroundings, continuing to feel your body as radiant sensation.
• Affirm that sensations of deep relaxation, ease, peace, wholeness, and wellbeing are accompanying you in every moment.
• Feel grateful for the opportunity to enhance your health, resiliency, and wellbeing. Richard Miller, PhD, is the founding president of the Integrative Restoration Institute (irest.us) and co-founder of the International Association of Yoga Therapists.
• Sense both ears at the same time as
back, and then your middle chest and back. Bring attention to your abdomen and lower back. Feel your entire torso, front and back, as radiant sensation . Let go of thinking. Your entire torso is heavy and at ease.
naturally dissolves and the next layer is revealed. As you welcome sensation, feel the relaxation response that deepens over time and migrates to other parts of your body.
TIPS I use medjool dates here, but if you want to use regular dried dates, soften them by soaking in Â˝ cup [EXIVSVJVIWLETTPINYMGIÂ˝VWX (sometimes I even throw this date juice in the combo too!).
Superstar foodie, yogi and nutritionist Lola Berry shares her favourite green drinks, packed with healthy, tasty ingredients.
PHOTOS: CHRIS MIDDLETON
Lime and Mint Dreams This recipe is a ripper! It keeps well in the fridge for about three days, so you could double the quantities to make enough for a few days’ brekkies for yourself or to share. SERVES 2
1 avocado 1 granny smith apple Handful of mint leaves 4 medjool dates, pitted
Mint sprigs, to serve Scoop out the avocado and add to the blender with the apple, mint, dates, lime juice and water. Whiz everything together until smooth (if you find it too thick, just add a little more water). Pour into glasses and top with the lime zest and mint sprigs.
With a Bachelor of Health Science (majoring in Nutritional Medicine at Endeavour College of Natural Health), Lola Berry knows what she’s talking about. She has got a secret: the most nutritious, healthy food is also the tastiest! Whether through her TV appearances, radio spots or her popular web series, Lola is passionate about reaching out to people all over the globe. Lola is a vibrant and enthusiastic Aussie who loves inspiring people with fresh ideas to better their health and lives. www.lolaberry.com
Super Green I love, love, love green smoothies, and this is my new favourite. It’s easy, so creamy and my go-to pick-me-up if I’m feeling burnt out.
Large handful of chopped baby spinach or kale 80 g. (½ cup) cashew nuts, soaked for 2 hours or overnight, then rinsed 1 avocado 1 frozen banana 1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped 2 Tbsp. maple syrup 500 ml (2 cups) almond milk Pinch of ground cinnamon Cashew nuts, to serve
Throw the kale, cashews, avocado, banana, vanilla seeds, maple syrup, almond milk and cinnamon into the blender and whiz it all up until silky smooth (add a little extra almond milk if you feel it needs it – I like mine thick but it’s about making it perfect for your taste buds). Pour into glasses or bowls and top with a few extra cashew nuts.
500 ml (2 cups) water, plus extra if necessary
juice and zest of ½ lime
TIPS Use whatever dark leafy greens you have – kale, baby spinach, collard greens, silverbeet, whatever ¾SEXW]SYVFSEX-J]SYHSR´X have coconut milk, use a nut milk like almond QMPOMRWXIEH
This is why I love smoothies so much – it’s so easy to sneak in so many nutrients, and superfoods that make it really simple. This is one of my jam-packed go-to meals and I sometimes even make it for dinner if I’m running out of time. But my favourite time to have this nutrient bomb is when I come home after a big yoga class. SERVES 2
1 avocado 150 g (1 cup) frozen mixed berries Large handful of dark leafy greens 1 Tbsp. chia seeds, soaked in water for 5–10 minutes 1 tsp. maca powder
1 Tbsp. spirulina powder 4 medjool dates, pitted 1 tsp. ground cinnamon 500 ml (2 cups) coconut milk
Topping 1 Tbsp. chia seeds Handful of mixed berries (fresh or frozen)
Scoop out the avocado and pop in the blender with the berries, greens, chia seeds, powders, dates, cinnamon and coconut milk. Whiz everything together until silky smooth (this will take at least 1 minute depending on the strength of your blender, but better this than be surprised by little lumpy bits later). Pour into glasses or bowls and top with extra chia seeds and an extra handful of berries. Delish!
PHOTOS: CHRIS MIDDLETON
Avocado Dreamboat I know avocado smoothie sounds weird, but trust me, it will make your smoothies the best consistency ever, TPYW]SYVFSH][MPPWSEOYTXLIEQE^MRK½FVIZMXEQMRWERH healthy fats of the avocado. SERVES 2
1 avocado 1 frozen banana 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin coconut oil, melted 2 large handfuls of baby spinach ½ vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped 500ml (2 cups) coconut cream 2 Tbsp. desiccated coconut 2 Tbsp. coconut nectar Topping 1 Tbsp. shredded coconut 2 tsp. coconut nectar Handful of berries (fresh or frozen)
Scoop out the avocado and place in your blender with the banana, coconut oil, spinach, vanilla seeds, coconut TIPS cream, desiccated coconut If you don’t have any and coconut nectar. coconut nectar, you can Process until silky substitute the same amount smooth. Pour into glasses and top with a sprinkle of shredded coconut, a drizzle of coconut nectar and a few berries of your choice. It’s hard to believe such a sweet treat can be so amazingly good for you!
of raw honey, maple syrup or 3 drops of stevia if you’re a fan. Also, if you’re out of vanilla pods, use ¼ teaspoon of pure vanilla powder instead. Coconut cream is full-cream coconut milk (it is thicker and contains more coconut fats).
Embrace the bliss of a restful night’s slumber by using a combination of restorative yoga, meditation, essential oils, and reiki. Our dream team can help you say goodnight to anxiety, calm your nervous system, and relax your whole body. SEQUENCE BY COLLEEN SAIDMAN YEE AND RODNEY YEE | STORY BY TASHA EICHENSEHER | PHOTOGRAPHY BY SARAH KEHOE
AROUND 15 YEARS AGO, prominent yoga teacher Colleen Saidman Yee started having trouble sleeping. She would settle into bed and then toss and turn, a list of to-dos running through her head. Or she would wake up in the middle of the night, unable to fall back asleep. It was physically and mentally exhausting. “When I suffer from insomnia, everything seems like too much effort; my nervous system is frazzled, my brain is foggy, and things that normally wouldn’t upset me take me down,” she explains. “Then as evening sets in, I start to worry about not getting to sleep, which is counterproductive.” Saidman Yee isn’t alone: the Australian Psychological Society reported in 2014 that insomnia is the most common sleep disorder among Australians, and one of the most common health complaints in the general population. Sleep disorders like insomnia and circadian rhythm sleep disorder (in which you can’t fall asleep at a conventional bedtime) plague at least 4o million Americans, according to the National Institutes of Health. And
Stress, a lack of physical activity, and pre-bed screen time are also culprits for keeping us awake, according to the Washington, DC–based Sleep Foundation. As Saidman Yee battled insomnia, she found practices that helped her ease into uninterrupted sleep. Key to her routine: the practice of a demanding asana sequence, especially standing poses, during the day, to make sure she doesn’t have pent-up energy in the evening; and restorative poses around bedtime, to promote mental and muscular relaxation. Scientists have long recognised that muscle-relaxation practices and meditation can treat insomnia, says Roger Cole, PhD, a certified Iyengar teacher and Stanford University-educated sleep researcher. “Restorative yoga—which incorporates both— can help you sleep,” he adds. Cole explains: The physiological deep relaxation of restorative yoga and the process of falling asleep are nearly identical—your heartbeat slows and your breathing grows quieter; your muscles release; and your brain waves slow down. Enter Urban Zen Integrative Therapy (UZIT), created by the Yees and launched with fashion designer Donna Karan in 2oo7. The UZIT system relies on the synergistic effects of in-bed movements, restorative poses, breath-awareness exercises, meditation, essential oils, and Reiki (energy balancing) to ease insomnia,pain, anxiety, nausea, constipation, and fatigue—things we experience in daily life but that are amplified during illness or a hospital stay. The Yees crafted the UZIT sequence on the following pages to help all of us sleep soundly. Try it for yourself, and we’ll see you in the morning.
an estimated 84 million adults in the United States get fewer than seven hours of sleep a night. That may seem like enough slumber, and for some lucky people it might be, but anything less than seven hours can increase most people’s risk of high blood pressure, stroke, obesity, diabetes, and other conditions that reduce life expectancy, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in America. Why are we chronically tired? “Many adults sacrifice sleep for work demands,” explains Carol Landis, PhD, professor emerita and sleep researcher at the University of Washington’s School of Nursing. In her 25-plus years of studying sleep, she’s noticed this common adage: I can get by on very little sleep. “This attitude stems from a lack of understanding about the health consequences of inadequate amounts of sleep,” she says.
A yoga lullaby This UZIT sequence designed by Colleen Saidman Yee and Rodney Yee offers poses that can help you rest. Additional essential-oil treatment, a breath-awareness meditation, and self-reiki work with the poses, or done on their own, can enhance your ability to get a good night’s sleep. Begin the sequence by taking a few simple steps: Turn off any screens; gather blankets, bolsters, pillows, a strap, a block, a sandbag (or another form of weight), and an eye pillow; and dim the lights. Place a few drops of lavender or frankincense essential oil onto a cotton ball and put it near your head or into a diffuser. Both fragrances are known to help reduce nervous-system tension and promote sleep. If you notice anxiety or stress creeping in, count the length of your inhales and exhales, working to eventually extend the exhalation by several counts, or use the breath-awareness meditation on this page. If you start to fall asleep in any of these poses, call it a night and crawl under the covers.
BREATH-AWARENESS MEDITATION > Notice your belly rising and falling with ease.
> Feel the rhythm of your natural breathing.
> For five breaths, as you inhale through your nose, feel your breath travelling down into your heavy, relaxed legs.
> For the next five breaths, observe the pause at the end of your exhalations.
> Keep bringing your mind back to the breathing cycle.
> Observe how your entire body moves in concert with your lungs and diaphragm.
1. SALAMBA BALASANA (SUPPORTED CHILD’S POSE) This comforting pose will help you turn your senses inward, release the muscles that keep you upright during the day, and settle into a restorative, restful practice. Place a bolster lengthwise in the middle of your bed or mat. Come to Child’s Pose, with your toes touching and the bolster between your thighs. Fold forward and rest your belly, chest, and head on the bolster. Rest your arms to either side of the bolster. Turn your head to the right and close your eyes; breathe here for 2 minutes. Then, slowly turn your head to the opposite side and stay for the same duration, allowing your exhales to lengthen.
2. SALAMBA PARSVA BALASANA (SUPPORTED SIDE CHILDâ€™S POSE) Get two blankets: Fold one blanket in thirds, lengthwise, and roll up the other one like a bolster. Lie on your right side, resting your head on a pillow. Draw your knees up toward your chest and place the folded blanket between your knees, lower legs, and feet. Your lower legs should be parallel to each other. Bring the rolled blanket in front of your torso to support your top arm and provide a sense of emotional support. Close your eyes and stay here for 5 to 10 minutes. Lying on your right side can help open your left nostril for increased airflow, which is believed to activate the right side of the brain and promote feelings of safety, ease, and sleepiness.
3. SUPPORTED CONSTRUCTIVE REST
OUR PROS Teacher and model Colleen Saidman Yee has been a student of yoga since the mid-1980s. She opened a studio, Yoga Shanti, in Sag Harbor, New York, in 1999. In addition to co-creating Urban Zen Integrative Therapy with Rodney Yee and Donna Karan, Saidman Yee is the author of several yoga DVDs and the book Yoga for Life: A Journey to Inner Peace and Freedom. Learn more at colleensaidmanyee. com. Teacher and model Rodney Yee started yoga study in 1980 at The Yoga Room, in Berkeley. He co-founded the Piedmont Yoga studio, in Oakland, California, and has since authored two books and been featured in more than 50 DVDs andvideos with Gaiam and Gaia. Find him at yeeyoga.com.
For this pose, youâ€™ll need two folded blankets (or a blanket plus pillow), a block, a strap, and an eye pillow. Place the first folded blanket under the balls of your feet and bend your knees. Then place the block at its narrowest setting between your thighs, and loop and secure a strap to your mid-thighs to keep your legs and the block together. Lie down on your back and rest your head on the second folded blanket (or pillow), so that your neck feels relaxed. Place the eye pillow on your belly so you can more easily feel your breath rise and fall. Then, cross your arms over your upper chest, as if hugging yourself, and close your eyes. Stay here for 5 minutes, switching the cross of your arms halfway through. This relaxing pose releases the lower back, a place where many of us hold tension that we carry to bed.
4. SALAMBA SUPTA BADDHA KONASANA (SUPPORTED RECLINING BOUND ANGLE POSE) Find two bolsters (or pillows or folded blankets). Lie down and bend your knees, bringing the soles of your feet together for Bound Angle Pose (Cobbler’s Pose). Slide a bolster or blanket under each leg to support the knees, shins, and feet. Rest your hands on your lower belly and place your elbows on the bed. Stay here with eyes closed for 5 minutes.
Sit on the floor in front of a chair, propping your hips on a blanket folded to a height that allows you to sit with your knees lower than your hips. Place another blanket on the seat of your chair for cushioning. Inhale and lengthen through your waist, and then exhale to fold forward. Rest your forehead and arms on the chair; place your arms over your head. Breathe here for 5 minutes, switching the cross of your legs halfway. This cooling, calming seated fold helps to release tension in the muscles of the back, hips, neck, and face, and draws your senses inward, away from distraction.
6. MODIFIED CONSTRUCTIVE REST, WITH CHAIR
Gather three folded blankets, a chair, and a sandbag (or another weight). Keep one of the blankets on the seat of the chair. Lie down with another blanket under your head and swing your legs onto the seat of the chair. Adjust so that your lower legs rest completely on the chair—you’ll know you’re in the right position when you feel some traction in your lower back. Then place the third blanket on your belly to bring awareness to your breath and help with relaxation. Add the sandbag on your shins to help release tension in your calves. Rest your arms along your sides, palms facing up, and close your eyes. Stay here for 5 to 10 minutes.
STYLIST: ALYSSA SHAPIRO; HAIR/MAKEUP: KALLY SITARAS; ON COLLEEN: TOP: LIVE THE PROCESS; BRA: CORY VINES; BOTTOMS: BEYOND YOGA; ON RODNEY: HIS OWN CLOTHING
5. SUKHASANA (EASY POSE), WITH CHAIR
7. PRASARITA PADOTTANASANA (WIDE-LEGGED STANDING FORWARD BEND), WITH CHAIR Stand up and face the chair. Place a folded blanket on the seat. Step your feet about one legâ€™s length apart and bring the inner edges of your feet parallel to one another. Fold forward until your head and arms rest on the seat of the chair. Stay here for 1 to 3 minutes. This pose can help release tension in the neck, shoulders, and backs of the legs, and cools the nervous system.
8. EASY BREATHING POSE, WITH CHAIR Sit sideways on the chair so the right side of your body is against the backrest. Place a rolled blanket and a sandbag (or two blankets) on the back of the chair and drape your right arm around them. Lean to the right until you feel pressure in your armpit. Look slightly over your left shoulder and hold your right wrist with your left hand. Cross your right ankle over your left knee and close your eyes. This pose opens the left nostril for easy breathing, which is said to activate the right side of the brain. The cross of the legs releases tension in the right hip joint. Hold here for 5 minutes.
9. VIPARITA KARANI (LEGS-UP-THE-WALL POSE)
If you are physically and mentally agitated, try poses 7, 5, and then 1. If you are exhausted, try poses 9, 6, and then 2. If you are struggling with a monkey mind, try poses 8, 4, and then 3.
MIX IT UP
Return to bed, or to a place on the floor where you can bring your legs up the wall. Have a bolster or pillow nearby. Sit with your right side against the wall, and then lower onto your back and swing your legs up. Bend your legs and press your feet into the wall to lift your hips off the floor, and then slide the pillow or bolster underneath the the back of your hips. In this pose, your hamstrings are flush against the wall. If your hamstrings are tight, bend your knees or move the bolster and your buttocks away from the wall. Place your arms and shoulders on the bed or floor in a cactus shape, palms facing up. Soften your belly and make sure your lower back is comfortable. This pose opens your chest, making inhaling easier. It also relaxes your legs. Rest here for 5 minutes before bringing your knees into your chest, rolling to your side, and finding a snug sleeping position.
STUDY WITH THE YEES Join Saidman Yee for a 12-week online course designed to help you reduce stress and find inner peace. Learn more at yogajournal.com/yogaforinnerpeace.
The mudra on this page and the Reiki hand positions on the opposite page can be used in tandem with the Yees’ asana sequence or separately to help you find calm. Start with San Mukhi Mudra to turn your senses inward and quiet your mind. (Place the tips of your index and middle fingers at the bridge of your nose, and your ring fingers at the top of the bulbous part of your nose. Your pinky fingers are at the corners of your mouth, and your thumbs are slightly pressing your inner-ear flaps.) Then complete the eight Reiki positions. Reiki is a Japanese energy-balancing technique. It has been a powerful Urban Zen Integrative Therapy modality in hospital settings, explains Rodney Yee. “We forget that simple human contact changes the chemistry of everything,” he says. Best of all, you can self-administer Reiki. Traditionally, a practitioner 50 would hold each hand position for 3 minutes.
1 Find a comfortable seat or cosy up in bed and close your eyes. Bring your fingertips to the top of your head, and your palms to your temples. 2 Next, move your palms over your eyes, with your fingers lightly resting on your forehead. 3 Let your hands slide to the back of your head. 4 Then move your palms to hover over the sides of your neck. 5 Bring them to rest on the upper chest, thumbs lightly touching your collarbones. 6 Move your hands to your lower chest, with your fingertips on the lower ribs. 7 Slide your hands to your upper belly, just above your navel. 8 Lastly, bring them to just below your navel.
Yoga teacher Les Leventhal looks at the importance of truly connecting with others, and teaches us how we can learn to pay more loving attention to ourselves, our loved ones, and our Earth.
SUMMER TIME, green, eco … takin’ it to the streets … for me, this means tapas, the third niyama. Tapas is living with less and recognising how full our lives really are with less clutter. Tapas also represents heat, as in ritualistic fire, or burning of old patterns of speaking, acting and behaving, in order to create space for the new, brave, bold and beautiful to move in. I teach all over the world and so, sometimes, I am not completely connected to the seasons. I am reminded of this right now, as I am writing this article from the United States where summer is coming to an end. So, how does any of this relate to eco anything, going green and tapas? I came to the States on a workshop and teacher training tour, and I stayed in the States because some very dear friends have passed away and a family member is soon to depart. She knows. We know. When someone says they don’t want to eat any longer because what’s going on with them makes it more painful to eat than not to eat, we know and we understand … or do we? This is one way that she chooses to finish her life with less. I could spend time telling you that I am sad, feel lonely, am confused about the ageing process, the debilitation of the human, physical body and then about my anger with God. Wait, okay, I just did, but honestly, that’s enough, and I do want
you to know me. But, more than that I want you to take something away from this article that you can cultivate in your own life. I want you to question what is important to you and I want to guide you to that very divine place we call the edge or the mountain top. This is a place where you can begin to question all the things that have been important to you but now they might just be distractions or they might be relationships that have become familiar and are no longer supportive to anyone in any way. So, let’s jump in. Over the past eight years, I’ve been travelling regularly to Australia to teach, and one thing I have learnt is that whether you are on the east coast enjoying sunrises, on the west coast enjoying sunsets, on the north coast, the south coast or somewhere in the interior, Australians love to escape and comb the outdoors. Do you ever take the time to pause and think who are you going to do these things with? Do you always only do these activities with family members? Do you ever think about the people who really need a break more? Are there people who you keep promising to call, promising you will go out with and grab a strong flat white (with honey), and yet you never seem to get around to it? Do not judge yourself, please. None of this is good, bad, right or wrong. Simply learn to become curious
about what you are doing and why you are doing it. As I grow older and witness the passing of friends and family, I have been given great pause to realise there are some people whom I have not been in face-to-face contact with in a while, and now I would like to pay respect to the words friendship and family. So the tapas piece is two-fold. First, it is choosing to make that circle of influential friends and family more tightly knit, meaning some of the social butterfly-asana, or bopping around, slows down. So, this means fewer people but more intimacy (hello bramacharya, intimate relationships). Then when we ask, or are asked, “How are you doing?” we can contemplate the overused replies, “fine” or “yeah, good” and aim to remove them from our conversations. We feel safe to trust in the person asking the question, or we focus on being the type of friend who truly listens when we ask someone how they are. We realise that we are asking them how they are because we have the love, compassion and care to stick around for the answer and give the person as much time as they need to answer. Second, as I walk through this very interesting time of change and transition in my life, it feels as if the entire world is also seeking answers on how to navigate moving in a direction no one could have
“When we are with loved ones, we tend to waste less and our lives transform into a place of caring for everything and everyone, including our environment ...”
predicted. People are dying and there are so many homeless people in San Francisco right now … it’s alarming and shocking. This means fewer people are in our lives. I noticed a desire in myself to try and fill the voids and became a member of various recovery programs; I also witnessed a desire to mask emotions. Of course, I turned to my recovery community for support, but I also always turn to yoga when I am seeking answers. What I have found is tapas, living with less, where old patterns and old beliefs no longer serve me and something useful can move in. My expectations started to rise and then came my meditation practice. Over the last few days, I sat down and just said, “Tapas, living with less, tapas, living with less.” I watched my mind and what a show it was. The revelation was everything that yoga continues to show me in every situation where we experience struggle or dukkha, which means suffering. That revelation is love. There is a deep undeniable, interconnectedness with all of us, and that is to give, receive and provide love. It is important that we allow ourselves time to grieve, to acknowledge when people are struggling and to say to others, “I see and hear that you are going through a rough time and I am here if you need me.” This pattern of
thinking that we need more in our lives is the opposite of what we are seeking. It has been with these passings that I have recognised and seen more clearly the relationships that I want and need to nurture more in my life. From this recognition, which is a seed ingredient for love – we could even call it desire – we are gifted the experience of feeling truelove in our lives, a knowingness that we meet God in our daily lives when we connect to this love. The eco, green piece/peace is when we are connected to that love, we are not running around the world trying to fill any perceived voids. We spend less money, use less fuel. We can pay attention to what we are buying and using and we can understand why. When we are with loved ones, we tend to waste less and our lives transform into a place of caring for everything and everyone, including our environment because we want the ones we love and spend time with to be well taken care of. This Earth, our planet, is one of those loves. As you go out exploring, pause for a moment, and think about whom you are going to spend time with and what you are going to do with them and the effect which that will have on those people and those around you. Think about the effects of your activities and their contributions to the wellbeing of this amazing Earth we’ve been gifted and please tell people you love them and honour their lives while they’re alive. Our social media honourings when someone passes are always amazingly filled with love, but make sure you tell them those same amazing things, face to face, while they are still alive. The gift of passing is the love of presence.
Stay in touch with Les: www.yogawithles.com Facebook: LesLeventhalYoga Instagram: YogaWithLes Twitter: YogaWithLes
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There’s a good chance you used to scrunch up your nose at bitter foods, relegating them to refrigerator Siberia. But these days, they’re the star of restaurant menus and supermarket shopping aisles. “People have discovered how much more interesting and satisfying food is when you add bitterness,” says Jennifer McLagan, Toronto-based chef and author of Bitter: A Taste of the World’s Most Dangerous Flavor. McLagan points to trending kale, unsweetened dark chocolate, and craft-brew beers as evidence. Better yet, bitter foods often get their tang from a combination of health-protective (frequently antioxidant) phytochemicals, including polyphenols, flavonoids, glucosinolates, and alkaloids. Ancient healers knew to harness the power of bitter plants for various maladies, and in Ayurvedic medicine, bitter foods have long been used to balance pitta and kapha doshas. If bitter isn’t your cup of tea, try incorporating small amounts into meals, and opt for foods with more subtle bitterness, such as walnuts, celery, horseradish, fenugreek seeds, turmeric, and Brussels sprouts. NANCY RONES
PHOTO: AARON COLUSSI; STYLIST: ERICA MCNEISH
A plant-based diet is being celebrated by many as a compassionate way to consume food while at the same time enhancing the quality of life for both humans and animals. Diana Timmins looks at the health benefits of eliminating meat and animal products from your diet and explores why many yogis adopt veganism as a natural lifestyle choice.
been proven to reverse and prevent heart disease and cancer, and there is growing evidence that it can successfully treat diabetes”. She says, “Perhaps most important, by eating a plant-based diet, you contribute more joy to the world and yourself.” Gannon claims that eating animals and their products isn’t hardwired into us, but is rather a cultural, learnt habit which can be unlearnt if exposed to enlightening education.
LIVING IN-LINE WITH AHIMSA While there is no one definitive yogic diet, eliminating meat at the very least is a common progression in pursuit for a sattvic (pure) diet that promotes health and harmony for all and the environment. For vegans, this means prohibiting consumption and use of all animal products, including anything tested on or fabricated by animals. Meat, seafood, poultry, dairy, eggs, animal fats and animal-derived additives or ingredients are eliminated … the bitter-sweet dollop of honey traded for animal-free substitutes like stevia and agave. Veganism is not simply a way of eating, but a way of living in line with the first yama (ethical guidelines) of Ahimsa (non-violence) as outlined in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. “It is essential to practice non-violence in all our relationships, whether it’s for the planet, ourselves or with our animal friends,” reiterates internationally renowned yoga activist, Seane Corn.
“Meat-based diets burden our environment through greenhouse gases, soil and forest depletion, and greater need for energy and water. Senseless slaughter of animals has become so normalised and mainstream that we have often disconnected ourselves from their suffering and pain. Yoga sensitises us to understand the interdependency of all beings and species,” she adds. While cows are considered sacred in India, many Western carnivores don’t readily consider what happened before farm animals unwillingly transitioned from paddock to plate, often subjected to crowded, unpleasant conditions. Vegan Australia says more than 500 million of our animals are killed yearly for food, as many as 100 of whom could be spared for each person who becomes vegan. The harsh realities of animal cruelty are both heartbreaking and transmissible. Byron-based Yoga Arts instructor, Jose Carlos Leal, explains how consuming food imperilled by such suffering influences us energetically. “The goal of yoga sadhana (practice) is freedom from suffering caused by our mind. We are affected by everything from gross to subtle levels. When we ingest the flesh and products of dead animals, we also ingest the energy of that creature … its pain, stress, suffering and nature. This affects our mind and can create disturbance, agitation, even aggression. Plant-based diets create calmness of mind and lightness of body, easing digestion, which is the secret for
PHOTOS: MICHAELPUCHE; FCAFOTODIGITAL/ISTOCKPHOTO.COM
yogajournal.com.au november/december 2016
LET’S CLARIFY SOMETHING from the outset: being raised as a carnivore does not make you a bad person. Nor are you banned from yoga if you wear the occasional leather jacket, delight in a glass of cow’s milk or sweeten your chai with a teaspoon or two of honey. While it’s certainly not all celery sticks and spinach, the personal choice of veganism isn’t appealing for everyone. Although, plant-based diets are on the rise, with Australia becoming the third-fastest growing vegan market worldwide behind United Arab Emirates and China. Interestingly, this trend coincides with the ever-growing popularity of yoga, which creates conscious awareness of where food comes from and its impact on personal and universal wellbeing. In recent years, health and ethical concerns of excessive meat consumption have been heavily scrutinised, revealing ties with obesity and cancer-causing carcinogens, and grim realities of animal exploitation.This means meat overconsumption endangers not only animals, but also the humans consuming them.Contrastingly, recent studies at California’s Loma Linda University indicated vegetarian and vegan diets done right may help us live longer, enhancing quality of life for both ourselves and animals (win-win!). In Simple Recipes for Joy (Penguin Group, 2014), vegan co-creator of Jivamukti Yoga, Sharon Gannon, cites scientific research on veganism’s vast benefits, relaying that “a vegan diet has
a healthy and long life,” says Leal. Like Leal, Corn encourages all who explore yoga to consider a compassionate diet for universal connection and sustainability of individual wellness; the transition, however, must be made smartly and slowly. “Like the practice of yoga, working towards a plant-based diet while learning about replacing meat addictions with other nutrients requires time, information and effort,” advises Corn.
VEGAN-FRIENDLY FUEL Human bodies are incredible; there is so much occurring simultaneously, often involuntarily, to enable physical existence. Of course, the fuel used to power bodily functions is imperative to efficiency. Our majority of daily energy intake should comprise major macronutrients like carbohydrates, fats and protein, of which there are plenty of plant-based sources. This doesn’t mean cleverly labelled vegan alternatives with prolonged shelf-life, but wholefoods nearer to nature.
“Like the practice of yoga, working towards a plant-based diet while learning about replacing meat addictions with other nutrients requires time, information and effort.”
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Carbohydrates have copped a bad rap amid modern fad dieting, but are essential as the body’s main energy source. The Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range (AMDR) suggests carbohydrates make up 45-65% of our energy intake. Brisbane-based dietitian and director of The Human Herbivore, Amanda Benham, recommends wholegrain and wholemeal versions of carb classics like bread and pasta, as nutrients are lost when outer layers of grains are removed. “The best carbohydrate sources are minimally processed – like brown, red or black rice – and wholegrains like oats, millet, barley, corn and quinoa. Potatoes are rich in carbohydrates, but sweet potatoes have the added benefit of containing beta-carotene, an antioxidant and precursor of vitamin A,” suggests Benham, a long-term yoga-loving vegan. “Legumes such as lentils, chickpeas and beans are also good sources of carbohydrates, as well as protein and fibre. They have low glycaemic index, meaning they prevent blood glucose spikes and satisfy hunger,” she adds. Fat is another commonly misunderstood substance, yet highly beneficial when consumed moderately, particularly essential fatty acids such as omega-3. The AMDR recommends 20-35% of energy intake come from fats, ideally unsaturated fats like avocados and nuts, as cholesterol-raising saturated and trans fats combined should not exceed 10%.
“While most modern diets are rich in omega-6 fats, they tend to be low in omega-3. It’s recommended that we increase omega-3 by consuming flaxseeds or chia seeds, and using olive or canola oil rather than saturated fats like coconut and palm oil,” suggests Behnam. Falling short of omega-3 may cause deficiencies in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), both crucial for growth and development. Sydney-based vegan nutritionist Fiona Halar advises seaweeds like dulse, nori, kelp, wakame and arame which contain EPA and certain types of microalgae (available as capsules) and are good sources of DHA. What about the myth that vegans struggle to meet protein requirements? Well, this is simply untrue. In fact, Australian diets often contain too much. The recommended daily intake (RDI) is 0.75 grams or 0.9 grams per kilogram of body weight for women and men respectively, ideally making up 15-25% of energy intake. Benham assures us that vegans can obtain all essential amino acids (protein building blocks) by consuming a varied whole plant diet, particularly legumes, wholegrains, nuts, seeds and soy products like tofu and tempeh.
MEAT-FREE MICRONUTRIENTS While micronutrients like vitamins and minerals are required in small amounts, their intake and absorption are vital, particularly calcium and iron. Calcium is important for building strong teeth and bones, maintaining blood acid-alkaline balance, muscle contraction, nerve transmission and heartbeat regulation. There is a common misconception that an absence of dairy results in calcium deficiency, but Halar advises that absorption from certain vegetables can double the calcium obtained from milk. “Silverbeet and swiss chard contain high amounts of oxalates, which can reduce absorption. Replace these with dark leafy greens low in oxalates, like kale, rocket, bok choy, broccoli, Chinese cabbage, baby spinach and collard greens. Beans, nuts, seeds and calcium-fortified products like soy or almond milk are also excellent sources of highly bioavailable calcium,” says Halar.
Iron plays significant roles in oxygenating cells, energy production and immune function. Halar recommends raw pumpkin seeds, sesame and sunflower seeds, cooked adzuki beans and soybeans, dried apricots, cooked bok choy, raw kale and turmeric as excellent plant-based sources of iron, but reiterates absorption roadblocks. “The issue is that absorption of nonheme iron in plant foods can be much less than absorption of heme iron in animal-based foods, because nonheme is sensitive to inhibitors like calcium-fortified foods and supplements, polyphenols (in tea, coffee, cacao and wine) and phytates (in wholegrains, nuts, seeds and legumes),” explains Halar. “Soaking, sprouting, and fermenting can diminish phytate levels, but the most effective way to overcome all inhibitors is to add vitamin C to meals. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits, strawberries, capsicum, cauliflower and green leafy vegetables,” she adds. Another essential vitamin is B12, found mostly in red meat, dairy and eggs. Unlike most nutrients, B12 is not readily attainable for vegans as plant-based foods contain only trace amounts. As B12 deficiency increases the risk of anaemia, nervous system damage, heart disease and pregnancy complications, vegans are generally recommended a daily intake of B12-fortified foods or supplementation. With guidance and variety, veganism can offer a healthy, happy lifestyle. So, should all yogis be vegan? Many say “ideally”, others “not necessarily”. Again, it boils down to personal opinion and how deeply one delves into yoga’s philosophical aspects. In her book, Gannon reminds us that the cause for our own happiness, health and freedom lies in how happy and free we can make the lives of others – including animals. As the beautiful Sanskrit prayer Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu inspires: “May all beings be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words and actions of my own life contribute to that happiness and freedom for all.”
Check out www.veganaustralia.org.au for nutrition tips and nationwide events.
PHOTOS: EHAURYLIK; VICUSCHKA/ISTOCKPHOTO.COM
“In her book, Gannon reminds us that the cause for our own happiness, health and freedom lies in how happy and free we can make the lives of others – including animals.”
VEGANS: STEER CLEAR! Deciphering labelling on food and cosmetics can be like sitting a chemistry exam. As Fiona Halar cautions, there are some particular sneaky additives that vegans may not realise are in fact of animal origin, including these common ones: · Carmine (E120): this preservative comes from the crushed female cochineal insect. · Casein (caseinogen): a milk protein often added to food and cosmetic products. · Gelatine: used in goods and cosmetics, gelatine is obtained by boiling animal skin, tendons and ligaments. · Glycerine/glycerol (E422): usually derived from tallow (beef or mutton fat).
For an extensive listing of animal ingredients and their alternatives, visit the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) website: www.peta.org/living/beauty/
· Whey: often found in protein supplements, whey comes from cow’s milk.
· Vitamin-D fortified foods: unless clearly marked as vegan-friendly, these usually contain sources like lanolin of sheep wool.
yogajournal.com.au november/december 2016
Chef Kelly Fielding shares her favourite vegan creations and inspires us to celebrate the benefits of a plant-based diet.
yogajournal.com.au november/december 2016
THE HUMBLE GREENS, so scrutinised by children and misunderstood by teens, have a lot going for them. High in protein, brimming with cleansing chlorophyll, bursting with living enzymes and off-the-charts in antioxidants, adding a healthy dose of green to your daily plate will benefit you and your health in myriad ways. Greens are incredibly alkalising, which can help protect your body against disease and illness. These particular vegetables act as mini-transfusions for the blood, health tonics for the brain and immune system and natural cleansers of the kidneys. A raw vegan diet is diverse, creative, nourishing and delicious. Of course, like any way of eating, it’s also about balance and about listening to your body. A 100% raw vegan diet may not be the fuel that makes your particular body thrive, but including more living and plant-based foods into your diet will still contribute positively to your overall physical and mental health. A plant-based diet is not about deprivation, it is about celebrating the sheer abundance found in nature. Eating a plant-based diet will encourage you to tune into the seasons and shift your focus towards a local and seasonal approach to eating. Visiting farmers’ markets, shopping at your local health food store and supporting organic and fair-trade where possible will not only benefit your own health, but also the health of your community, the wider planet and its varied species of inhabitants. So, go green! Embrace the diversity of nature, be creative with food and don’t be scared to try new things. Alas, I may be preaching to the converted here, but try inspiring someone close to you: leading by example is by far the best way to create positive change.
Matcha kiwi and avocado smoothie bowl SERVES 1
Smoothie bowls are such a great way to enjoy everything you love about a smoothie, with a little extra fun and sustenance. If you find your morning smoothie doesn’t sustain you for too long, try topping it with some extra nuts, seeds, dried fruit, fresh fruit, oats or buckinis. You can also try adding a teaspoon of plant-based protein for extra substance. 1 ½ 2 ¼ 1 ½ 1 1 ½ 6 2
banana (preferably frozen) a ripe avocado leaves of kale, stems removed tsp. orange zest tsp. Matcha powder tsp. ginger powder kiwi fruit (skin removed) tsp. coconut oil cup of your favourite plant-based milk Manzanilla olives limes cut into wedges, for garnish
Chop up your banana, avocado and kale and place them in a blender with the remaining ingredients. Blend on high until smooth and creamy.
Pour your smoothie into a bowl and top with: 1 tsp. buckinis Enjoy with a spoon! 1 tsp. pumpkin seeds 1 tsp. coconut shreds 1 tsp. dried rose petals (optional) A few slices of blood orange for garnish Or any toppings of your choice
Carob and Mint Dessert Jars SERVES 2
My philosophy with dessert is it should be equally as delicious as it is good for you, and when it comes to raw vegan desserts, it’s really easy to fit this bill! Raw desserts are filled with healthy fats (coconut, avocado, raw nuts), plus fruits, vegetables (yes, vegetables!), natural sweeteners and yummy superfoods. The combination below is a favourite of mine. I like to work with carob because it is less stimulating than cacao powder and also high in B vitamins which can be lacking in a vegetarian diet. If you’re looking for more of a kick though, feel free to use cacao. Make sure you choose a safe, edible essential oil or simply up the quantity of fresh mint leaves. The essential oils add much more flavour though!
As a hummus addict, I am always looking for fun, new ways to be creative with hummus. I’ve tried sweet potato hummus, beetroot and rosemary hummus, olive and sun-dried tomato hummus and lately, I’ve really enjoyed this green pea hummus recipe. It is light and fresh and perfect for warmer weather. The kaffir lime adds a really lovely flavour that almost transports you to faraway lands … 1 2 3 1 ¼ ¾ 3 ½ 4
cup of fresh peas (if frozen, make sure you allow them time to defrost) Tbsp. tahini Tbsp. lemon juice tsp. salt cup fresh mint leaves cup cooked chickpeas Tbsp. olive oil a ripe avocado kaffir lime leaves
Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until well combined. I like to leave it a little chunky, but feel free to make it completely smooth if you prefer. Season to your taste with a little extra salt or lemon. This is great as a topping for salads, but also as a regular dip with vegetables or crackers and it is delicious spread over toast or mixed through pasta.
For the Mint Layer: 2 ripe bananas ½ a ripe avocado ¼ of a zucchini 2 ½ Tbsps. carob powder 2 tsp. coconut nectar 1/8 tsp. salt ½ cup of coconut milk 1 Tbsps. melted coconut oil
Chop the banana, avocado and zucchini and add to your blender along with the rest of the ingredients. Blend at high speed until the mixture is perfectly creamy.
Pour the mixture evenly into the bottom of 2 glass jars or cups and place in the fridge.
Remove the jars from the fridge and sprinkle a layer of shredded coconut on top of the chocolate layer. This step is optional but it creates a nice separation between the two flavours. Pour the mint layer on top of both jars and return to the fridge to set for an hour or two. Enjoy!
MAKES 2 ½ CUPS
Chop the banana, avocado and zucchini and add to your blender along with the rest of the ingredients. Blend on high speed until the mixture is perfectly creamy.
Pea, Avocado and Kaffir lime hummus
For the chocolate layer: 2 ripe bananas ½ a ripe avocado ¼ of a zucchini 2 ½ Tbsps. carob powder 2 tsp. coconut nectar 1/8 tsp. salt ½ cup of coconut milk 1 Tbsps. melted coconut oil
The Super-Green Bowl SERVES 2
Creating nourishing, colourful bowls of food like this is my favourite way to eat and share food with others. They are incredibly versatile, so feel free to add any of your favourite vegetables that you may scoop up at the weekly market. This is perfect topped with the green pea hummus dip or the Green Goddess dressing. I love the sesame seeds and goji berries as a contrast in this bowl. 1 1 1 12 2 3-4 1 1
large (or 2 small) zucchini small head of broccoli (around 8 florets) bunch of asparagus Brussels sprouts small yellow squash large stalks of kale tsp. sesame seeds tsp. goji berries
Wash the zucchini and chop off the top and bottom. Spiralise the zucchini with a spiraliser. If you don’t have a spiraliser, simply use a regular vegetable peeler and peel into long thin strips, much like you would peel a carrot. Steam the asparagus, brussels sprouts and squash until tender; check after five minutes and then watch closely. Remove the vegetables from the heat as soon as they reach your desired taste. I like to keep them quite crunchy and vibrant. Remove the stems from the kale and chop the leaves finely. Place the chopped kale in a small bowl and add ½ a teaspoon of lemon juice, olive oil and a dash of salt. With your hand, massage the kale with the lemon, oil and salt until it begins to soften and wilt as this makes it more digestible as well as tastier! When you’re ready, assemble the vegetables in your bowl: the zucchini noodles, broccoli, sprouts, squash, asparagus and kale. Spoon on a good tablespoon of your green pea hummus and a drizzle of Green Goddess dressing. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and goji berries. Feel free to add a little extra lemon and salt to your liking.
Green Goddess Dressing
Having a good salad dressing on hand makes for easy and delicious lunches and dinners. This dressing is bursting with vibrant ingredients and is the perfect addition to the Green Bowl, or to jazz up any mid-week salad! It will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge in an airtight container. 1 2 2 1 1 2 ½ 1 1¼ 1
cup of mixed fresh herbs (basil, parsley, coriander, mint or another of your choice) Tbsp. lemon juice Tbsps. olive oil tsp. maple syrup Simply place all of the Tbsps. almond butter ingredients in your blender tsp. nutritional yeast and blend until smooth and tsp. salt creamy. Pour into a squeezy tsp. tamari bottle for easy use, or a glass inch piece of ginger, chopped jar, and store in the fridge until of a ripe avocado ready to use. cup of filtered water
Matcha Matcha has been consumed for more than a millennium in the Far East and has recently experienced a revival. Considered as one of the most powerful superfoods on the market, matcha offers a powerful arsenal of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and amino acids. The exceptionally high level of antioxidants in matcha helps to prevent ageing and protect the body against illness and chronic diseases. Matcha has been proven to boost metabolism and assist with detoxification, as well as remove heavy metals and toxins from the body. The L-Theanine found in matcha promotes concentration and clarity of mind and also serves to enhance overall mood and feelings of general wellbeing!
Avocados Avocados are rich in various nutrients, vitamins and minerals. They are heralded for being a good source of monounsaturated fatty acids, as well as having a low sugar content. They are a good source of natural energy and contain a number of essential vitamins and minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese, phosphorus and zinc. They also contain minerals such as vitamin C, B6, B-12, A, D, K, E, thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin. Avocados are a great source of dietary fibre, and contain soluble and insoluble fibres that help to keep the digestive system running smoothly. Avocados are packed with nutrients that are beneficial for maintaining healthy skin and hair, they are helpful for liver and kidney health, lower cholesterol levels, and contain both vitamin C and E, which help to enhance antioxidant properties of the human body.
Spirulina Spirulina is a naturally occurring algae that happens to be one of the most potent sources of nutrients available on the planet! It is high in protein and a good source of antioxidants, B-vitamins and other nutrients. Its high concentration of protein, iron and B12 make it ideal for vegans and vegetarians, although everyone can enjoy the health benefits that spirulina offers. Spirulina contains Omegas 3,6 and 9, as well as the essential fatty acid, gamma linolenic acid (GLA), which has gained attention due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Spirulina contains vitamins B-1 (thiamine), B-2 (riboflavin), B-3 (nicotinamide), B-6 (pyridoxine), B-9 (folic acid), vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin A and vitamin E. It is also a source of potassium, calcium, chromium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, sodium and zinc. Spirulina is also extremely high in chlorophyll, which helps remove toxins from the blood and boost the immune system.
Broccoli Broccoli belongs to the cruciferous vegetable family and is a real nutritional powerhouse, offering a great deal of nutrients with very little calories. Broccoli is high in calcium, and also provides well over one 100% of your daily need of Vitamin K, which further assists bone health. Broccoli is high in vitamin C which can assist immunity, lower the risk of infection and promote skin and eye health. It is very high in natural fibre, helping to maintain a healthy digestive tract and lower the risk of developing heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, and certain gastrointestinal diseases.
Coriander is a popular herb often used in Asian cuisine, although it originated in the Mediterranean. It carries many notable chemical compounds that are known to have disease-preventing and health-promoting properties. The deep-green leaves of coriander possess good amounts of antioxidants, essential oils, and dietary fibre. The herb is a good source of minerals, including potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Potassium helps to regulate heart rate and blood pressure, while iron is essential for red blood cell production. Coriander is also rich in many vital vitamins, including folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin A, beta carotene, vitamin K and vitamin C, all essential nutrients for optimal health.
zeaxanthin, nutrients that absorb and neutralise the free radicals created by UV light.
Kelly is a passionate writer and raw/vegan chef who combines her love of writing with her forays into health and wellness. Kelly has travelled and worked extensively across the world in health resorts, detox centres, raw food restaurants and wellness retreats, sharing ways to live simply, mindfully and sustainably. Her work is regularly published on several online journals as well as her own website Bella and Bhakti, which offers information about plant-based living, vibrant nourishing recipes as well as inspiration to encourage others to share their own passions and dreams. A gypsy heart and lover of nature, Kelly finds inspiration in the world around her and translates her visions into whimsical stories and edible creations. www.bellaandbhakti.com email@example.com http://instagram.com/bellaandbhakti https://www.facebook.com/bellaandbhakti
Kale is touted as being one of the most nutritional foods on the planet. Like other leafy greens, it is very high in antioxidants. It is also high in vitamins C and K, as well as being a good plant-based source of calcium, magnesium and potassium. Like other cruciferous vegetables, Kale is full of compounds that are believed to have protective effects against cancer. It can also offer cardiovascular support and is a great anti-inflammatory food. Kale is also well known for its detoxifying properties, and is great for aiding digestion and elimination with its great fibre content and high sulphur content, which keeps the liver healthy. Kale is also one of the best sources of lutein and
PHOTOS: STUDIOCASPER;OLIVER HOFFMANN; MAGONE; © NORMAN CHAN; TOMBOY2290; FLOORTJE/ISTOCKPHOTO.COM
By Caitlin Weatherstone NATURE IS the forgotten necessity in our modern society. With the domination of concrete, buildings, cars, phones and deadlines, we’re more stressed and anxious than ever before. We are not designed for this world. And yet we continue to perpetuate this frantic existence as we create the next generation of frazzled humans, even more disconnected from nature and their own selves than the last. Rewilding has been proposed as a remedy for this deficiency of nature. Originally a term used by ecologists, rewilding refers to
the process of restoring landscapes back to their natural state. Rewilding can also occur in humans, with the difference being that there is a focus on rewilding our inner landscapes. This process involves connecting with our roots and recognising that we are human animals who were once capable of surviving (and thriving) in the wild.
Rewilding = Reconnection Rewilding in our modern world isn’t easy. With technological devices attached to us like extra limbs, how do
we switch off? How do we find our wild? What does that even mean? The answer lies in disconnecting. Disconnect to reconnect. I’m not suggesting that we all go back to our caveman ways and ditch our smart-phones, don loin cloths and run around in the forest. But I am proposing that we disconnect from our modern ideals in order for the human race to move forward sustainably. We need to reconnect with Mother Nature and our true selves in order to find our wild (and our sanity) again.
PHOTO: BORUT TRDINA/ ISTOCKPHOTO.COM
Reconnect with your roots, disconnect from your devices, and restore your respect for nature … it’s called rewilding!
Here are some simple steps to get wild:
partner. Give yourself permission to go deeper.
Adventure in nature frequently. Find a new waterfall, tree, beach, path, dune, creek or forest. Appreciate nature’s beauty and breathe in the fresh air.
Get a sisterhood/brotherhood
I challenge you to disconnect, reconnect and rewild your lives. Nature is calling you back. Some of the pleasant side effects of rewilding may include feelings of self-love, confidence, calmness and resilience. You’re actually nicer to people and have a greater respect for all living things, you can craft all sorts of wonders with your hands and you are guaranteed epic adventures in nature. You may even make some new wild friends (animal and human), your legs may become stronger (and hairier), your feet dirtier and your grin wider!
For at least one hour a day and a whole day on the weekend, turn your phone onto flight mode (aka. off) and actually connect with someone: yourself, your mum, your child, your best friend or
Caitlin is a Wildlife Ecologist and owner of Wild Search Byron Bay, an environmental education business. She runs Rewilding Women workshops and women’s circles in the Byron Shire. www.rewildingwomen.com.au, www.wildsearchbyronbay.com.au, Instagram @rewildingwomen @wildsearchbyronbay.
Whilst on your nature adventure, take your shoes off. Literally ground yourself.
Get natural Ditch the chemical-laden cosmetics, products and foods. Go organic, sustainable, natural and wholesome.
Get crafting Learn traditional bush skills. It’s a great way to connect to nature, get your hands dirty and encourage self-sufficiency.
Share the wild love! Organise nature adventures, skill-share workshops and nature gatherings for your tribe.
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Is your life a little
too plastic? 9 ways to kickstart your environmental journey, embrace eco lifestyle changes, and help save the world.
1. Learn about the issue and find a reason that resonates
Yoga teaches us that we are merely reflections of one another; that there is no separation, and that all beings are connected in this miraculous, beautiful, life-sustaining world. The philosophy behind yoga, be it in the Yoga Sutras, The Upanishads, or The Bhagavad Gita, provides us with layers upon layers of ancient wisdom that is still so relevant in today’s modern age. As yoga practitioners, it’s time we embody this philosophy. Our oceans are dying and the biggest issue they are facing, aside from climate change, is plastic pollution. We are living in a time where we are being called to show up, and show up well. The exciting thing about being a yogi in this time is that we can strive to maintain our huge hearts and disciplined minds, and when these things are combined, we can unite and save the world, right!? Plastic pollution is an issue that can seem astronomical and devastating, but when you break it down and look into it, you can also see the potential for change, for people coming together, and for all the exciting new products and inventions being created. If you want to be a part of the solution, keep reading.
PHOTO: MARIOGUTI/ ISTOCKPHOTO.COM
Mollie is the founder of Jala Yoga, and is based in Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast, Queensland. She is a dedicated marine conservationist, activist, ocean lover, and yoga teacher. She strongly believes that through the application of the eight-limbed philosophical path to this modern world, along with communities uniting and activating, we have the potential to create a positive and long-lasting change for our planet.
When it comes to plastic pollution, it can feel overwhelming as there are so many reasons why you should cut plastic out. Scientists are predicting that there is more plastic in the sea than there are ﬁsh. A recent study published in the journal Science estimates that that every year, globally, more than 8 000 000 000 kilograms of plastic (yep, you read that right: 8 billion kilograms)enters our ocean and mostly never completely breaks down. In China, they have discovered plastic micro-beads in their sea salt shakers. Scientists are discovering that a large percentage of the ﬁsh consumed by humans and the agricultural industry have plastic in their bodies. When you’ve got the facts, look inwards: find a reason that resonates with you as to why you should make the switch to a plastic-free lifestyle. Personally, I love turtles. I love the Great Barrier Reef, and I know that the mining of oil plus natural gases that go towards producing plastic is affecting the reef’s health. I love swimming, surﬁng and free diving in the ocean purely because of the turtle and ﬁsh interactions. More plastic in the sea = less turtles. What’s your reason? ** sources below
2. Observe your lifestyle choices You might be an ocean crusader without even realising! Observe the choices you make – judgement free – when you are grocery shopping, or grabbing a juice or coffee, or even when topping up on shampoo and conditioner. Going plastic-free means becoming radically honest with ourselves.
3. Start small What could you really do without? What can you do right now? Don’t try and do it all at once. Be gentle with yourself. Start with the easy things, like swapping to reusable bags when food shopping, or saying no to straws. Just like there is a process to learning more advanced asana, pranayama, and life in general, there is a process to going plastic-free. Understand this process and you can make the switch to a plastic-free life habitual and sustainable.
4. Be prepared
Get to know your local farmer. Not only are they normally legends, but they generally avoid those little stickers we forget are plastic. By buying from farmers we support our local economy and avoid plastic packaging and nasty chemicals used in the process of mass farming. Also, find your local bulk food store. Take your large jar collection in and fill up with plastic-free goodies. Definitely buy chocolate from the large selections available while bulk food shopping.
6. Get creative and DIY You know those things in your bathroom that you know are wrapped in plastic but can’t imagine there ever being a plastic-free alternative, like toothpaste? Good news! You can make all of these things with ingredients from the bulk food store for a fraction of the price. There are plenty of online resources floating around, however it’s mostly a “make it up as you go along” kinda thing.
7. Personify Satya Yes, plastic is more convenient. You’ll probably spend an hour in the bulk food shop deciding what sweetener would work best in your DIY toothpaste. Yes, you’ll make mistakes. You’ll get looked at like a crazy person when you juggle your produce away from the shops. You’ll probably even become a little fanatic when you first begin. Be gentle with yourself and with others. Stay integral to your plastic-free mission. Convey your cause through your actions. Lead by example, and others will follow your lead.
8. Join a beach clean There are communities all around Australia who are activating by going down to the beach weekly or monthly to clean their shores from marine debris. Clean Coast Collective, Responsible Runners, and Take 3 for the Sea are some nationwide groups doing amazing things. You’ll be shocked as to what and how much you’ll find at a beach clean, but you’ll be stoked to connect with a like-minded community- while saving a few turtles - along the way.
9. Tell a friend, or five! Could you imagine if every yogi in the whole world told five people they are going plastic-free, or posted a handy plastic-free tip every now and then on their social media platform?
Mollie hosts monthly free yoga classes on the beach, followed by a beach clean. She also runs monthly workshops in collaboration with Youth 4 Beaches where she teaches a yoga class followed by a DIY workshop on plastic-free products. You can find her teaching in the Burleigh Heads Boomerang Bags warehouse in her yoga space, where a percentage of the monetary contributions are funnelled directly back into the Boomerang Bags initiative; as well as various studios and beaches around the Gold Coast. Find out more about how you can get involved in campaigns to protect the beautiful big blue or where to a join a class by following Mollie on Instagram: ( @jalayoga.co ) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Handy links/ sources: http://www.aliceforrest.com/ #!about2/c9nh http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2016/08/17/ the-first-proof-microbeads-in-skin-care-arepoisoning-fish-flesh/ http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ acs.est.5b03163?source=cen& http://www.plasticfreejuly.org http://boomerangbags.org
5. Farmers make the best kind of friends
Keep a mug or reusable cup in your car. Have your reusable bags ready at all times; if you forget them, buy less and carry it. Carry a drink bottle with you and refill it at any tap. Do you know you’re potentially eating out? Then pack a container and fork so you can eat next to the ocean and not feel guilty. Be prepared to have a broken heart when saying no to the yummiest vegan cake because it comes packaged in plastic.
your practice HOME PRACTICE
A sequence to help you
balance effort and surrender By Judith Hanson Lasater and Lizzie Lasater
WE ALL FEEL BETTER AFTER taking a yoga class, yet finding inspiration on the mat when practicing alone can be more difficult. Cultivating a home practice certainly requires commitment, but it also requires softness—a quality that urges us to let go of our physical, mental, and emotional attachment, whether it’s a desire to get into a certain pose or a too-tight grip on a certain outcome we’re hoping our practice will provide. In his classic Yoga Sutra, Patanjali provides a few verses that speak directly to these seemingly opposing aspects of our yoga
practice. After defining yoga as “a state in which the fluctuations of the mind are no longer dominant”, he states that freedom from these fluctuations comes from “consistent practice and supreme detachment”. These two guiding concepts—abhyasa (determined effort, i.e., consistent practice) and vairagya (detachment)—can become the key to noticing and then releasing any resistance you might encounter around establishing your home practice. The following sequence will help you work with both abhyasa and vairagya, urging you to honour both strength and surrender, courage and calm.
Practice tip Notice if you’re tempted to hang in the shoulder joints, where you might already be quite loose. Instead, feel that it takes abhyasa to create stability.
1 Utthita Hastasana in Tadasana Upward Salute in
2 Adho Mukha Svanasana
3 Virabhadrasana III
Downward-Facing Dog Pose, variation
Warrior Pose III, variation
Face the wall, standing about an arm’s length away. Separate your feet by at least 30cm; drop your chin and bend forward at your hips, placing your palms on the wall a little above shoulder height. Spread your fingers as you press strongly into the thumb side of your hands. Move your hips away from the wall, lengthening your spine. Reposition your feet so your hips, knees, and ankles stack vertically. Engage your abdominal muscles slightly to lift them up toward your spine. Stay in the pose for several breaths, and then walk your feet toward the wall to come to standing.
Find your way back to Down Dog at the wall. With an inhalation, lift your right leg. Press strongly into the wall as you lengthen along the horizontal axis. Allow your outer right hip to lift slightly, positioning your pelvis in an asymmetrical but balanced way. Feel the strength of your consistent effort (abhyasa) as you press into the wall and lengthen your body toward the centre of the room. Stay for 3 to 5 breaths before you release the leg and move to the second side.
Bring your mat perpendicular to the wall. Stand facing the wall with your feet hip-distance apart. Turning your heels slightly out, bring the outer edges of your feet parallel with the sides of your mat. Inhale and sweep your arms overhead. Don’t hold your shoulder blades down; let them spread like wings up and across your back. Extend your fingertips toward the ceiling, with palms facing, and press down through your feet to lift your energy upward. Soften your eyes and take a few slow, deep breaths. Slowly lower your arms to your sides with an exhalation. Repeat once.
4 Ardha Chandrasana
6 Utthita Trikonasana
Half Moon Pose, variation
Standing Forward Bend
Extended Triangle Pose
Begin again in Down Dog at the wall. Lift your right leg toward Warrior III with an inhalation, and then rotate your pelvis as you continue to lift your right hip and turn your torso to the right. Bring your left fingertips down to the floor (or a block). Move your right fingertips up the wall, creating a point of stability around which to rotate your horizontal axis. Resist the urge to rotate your head; instead, look straight ahead and let your neck remain an extension of your spine. Exhaling, release your right leg to the floor and repeat on the other side.
After taking Half Moon on your second side, release your left leg to the floor and melt into this forward bend. Soften the back of your neck and let your head hang. Cross your arms and hold your elbows. If the stretch on the back of your legs is too intense, consider putting your hands on blocks, elbows straight, and then moving your feet farther apart. Remain in the pose for a few breaths with a spirit of surrender (vairagya). Take a long inhalation as you come up to standing.
Spread your legs wide, at least one metre apart, turning your left toes out and your right toes slightly inward. With an inhalation, raise your arms parallel to the floor. Bring your attention to your pelvis and imagine it as a bowl of water. Descend from your outer left hip joint as you tip this pelvic bowl slightly forward and down to let the imaginary water pour down your left leg. Bring your left fingertips down to rest on your ankle or a block, and stretch your right arm toward the ceiling.
8 Prasarita Padottanasana
9 Virabhadrasana II
Extended Side Angle Pose, with block
Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend
Warrior Pose II
From Triangle Pose, move into Utthita Parsvakonasana by bending your left knee so that it’s directly over your ankle. (You may need to increase the distance between your feet.) Stretch your left arm downward, press your left hand into a block for support, and then extend your top (right) hand up and over your head, turning your palm toward the floor. To come out, inhale and straighten your left knee while you stretch upward and outward from your right arm in a big, sweeping circle.
Turn your right toes inward as you reach both hands to your ankles. If you’re flexible in this pose, experiment with curling your tailbone slightly under to allow your spine to make a long, gentle curve. If you like, use a block to support your head—though if you do, make sure your chin is tucked and the back of your neck is long. Focus on your exhalations as you soften into the pose, feeling the surrender (vairagya) that comes with resting deeply here. Hold for 3 to 5 breaths, and then inhale to rise.
Rotate your left toes outward as you bend your left knee and move back through Extended Side Angle Pose on the left side. Exhale and turn your right heel away from you; with a strong inhalation, press into your back foot as you rise up into Warrior Pose II. The powerful action in your legs lets you experience abhyasa as your arms spread wide, taking your gaze past your left fingertips. To come out, straighten your left leg and shift your stance in preparation for taking Triangle Pose (pose 6) on the right side.
7 Utthita Parsvakonasana
PHOTOS: DAVID MARTINEZ; MODEL: LIZZIE LASATER; STYLIST: LYN HEINEKEN; HAIR/MAKEUP: MEGAN RAY; TOP: PHAT BUDDHA; BOTTOMS: ASICS
Practice tip Notice that abhyasa and vairagya may both be at play here, particularly if you find this pose challenging. Can you practice with focus yet remain detached from how your pose looks today?
For poses 6 through 9, move your mat away from the wall and do each pose in succession on one side before repeating them all on the second side.
73 CONTINUE SEQUENCE ON NEXT PAGE.
your practice HOME PRACTICE
11 Supta Padangusthasana
12 Jathara Parivartanasana
Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose, with strap
Revolved Abdomen Pose, with twist
After flowing through poses 6 through 9 on your right side, sit on the floor in the centre of your mat. Shift your weight back so you are sitting on the lower part of your sacrum as you bring your knees toward your chest. Slightly round your back in order to fully engage your abdominal muscles as stabilisers. Balance on the middle portion of your sacrum as you straighten your legs and stretch your arms out parallel to the floor, thumb side of your hands facing the ceiling. Hold for 5 breaths, keeping the breath as soft and free as possible.
After Boat Pose, lie back on the floor and enjoy this moment of vairagya. When you’re ready, exhale as you lift your straightened left leg and loop your yoga strap around the middle of your left arch. Hold the strap loosely so your elbows are on the floor and your arms and shoulders relax. Press your right inner heel strongly into the floor to help you maintain awareness of your right leg as you straighten your left knee. Keep your breath natural during the pose. Hold for 5 breaths, and repeat on the second side.
Return to Supta Padangusthasana with your left leg raised. Hold both ends of the strap in your right hand so the back of your hand faces you. Coming into a twist, bring your left leg across your body and down to the floor. Straighten and extend your right leg and left hand (not visible in photo) away from your body to create the pose’s dynamic action. Focus on your exhalations as you let go into the stretch. Hold for 5 breaths, and then repeat on the second side.
Practice tip Hug your legs into the midline, which allows more freedom with the backbend. Think of other places in your life where creating a firm foundation might cultivate more freedom.
13 Baddha Konasana
Bound Angle Pose, with head support
Sit on the floor with the soles of your feet together; position your heels at least eight inches from your body. Support the weight of your head using a yoga block, bolster, or even the seat of a chair. Make sure that your chin is tucked, and that the back of your neck is long. Stay for a few rounds of slow, even breathing, noticing a gradual increase in your feeling of release. (It’s very important for the health of your lower back that the pelvis tilts forward. If you find this difficult, stay seated vertically while bowing your chin, or sit on the corner of folded blankets to facilitate this tilted movement.)
Take a few moments to set up your body in a position of deep comfort. Support your head and shoulders, your knees, and the backs of your ankles and wrists. Switch your phone into airplane mode and set a timer for 15 minutes. Cover your body with a blanket, and your eyes with an eye pillow or soft cloth. In a gesture of surrender, open your arms wide and turn your palms up to face the ceiling. Let your chin gently move downward as you release the back of your skull away from your spine. Notice how light and soft your breath becomes.
OUR PROS Teacher Judith Hanson Lasater has taught yoga since 1971. In addition to co-founding Yoga Journal, she has written eight books on yoga and teaches extensively throughout the United States and internationally. Model Lizzie Lasater, Judith’s daughter, teaches yoga online and at international workshops and conferences.
Choose the course to suit you • Foundation Yoga Studies - 70 hours • Diploma of Yoga Teaching - 350 hours (one year) • Advanced Yoga Studies with choice of post graduate speciality courses including Pre and Post Natal and Back Care - 500 hours Flexible study options - face to face or online via correspondence.
What you will gain • Ability to teach anywhere in the world • Member of a worldwide supportive organisation • Conidence to teach yoga in a safe and professional manner
e c n e • Knowledgeable faculty i ce ! r n e r e Expe ff • Full support throughout your training the di
• Non-proit, ethical and internationally recognised • Longest running yoga teacher training provider in Australia
Give us a call today on
1800 449 195
w w w.iyta.com.au
r r ti YOGAPEDIA
Poses of the month How to move from Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana to Eka Pada Vasisthasana By Noah Mazé
Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana
} utthita = extended · hasta = hand · padangustha = big toe · asana = pose Extended Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose
Benefit Strengthens the feet, ankles, legs, hips, and core; stabilises the ankles; develops focus, confidence, and balance.
1 Stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) with your legs and feet together. Press evenly through the inner and outer edges of your feet. Lift up through your spine. Gaze forward and stretch your arms by your sides.
2 Exhale, press down through your left leg, and turn your right hip out as much as you can without turning your pelvis to the right. Bring your left hand to your left hip.
Externally rotate your right hip and keep your pelvis level. Lift your torso. Inhale, straighten your right leg to the side as much as possible while keeping your torso upright.
3 Inhale, bend your right knee out to the side and up to grab your big toe with the first two fingers of your right hand. Strongly pull up your left kneecap, engage your quadriceps, and keep your left knee straight.
5 Keep your standing leg strong by continuously lifting your left kneecap. Firm your outer left hip in toward the midline and roll your right buttock down without tucking your pelvis. Keep your abdomen engaged. Externally rotate your upper right arm. Keep your left hand on your hip and gaze forward. Hold for 5–8 breaths.
4 With your right knee still bent, move your right leg to the right up to 90 degrees—go as far as you can without letting your pelvis or left thigh rotate to the right.
6 Inhale, bend your right knee; exhale, release your hand, and return to Tadasana. Repeat on the other side.
DON’T allow your pelvis to overly lift on the outstretched-leg side. Instead, keep your pelvis parallel to the floor as best you can. If it lifts, the elevated leg internally rotates and can contribute to instability in the hamstrings, hips, and pelvis.
DON’T sink or slump your weight into the hip of your standing leg, causing it to move away from the midline. If this happens, it means that the glutes are not engaged, creating instability in the outer hip and pelvis.
Our Pros Teacher and model Noah Mazé founded Noah Mazé Yoga in 2003; in 2012, he founded his Los Angeles–based YOGAMAZÉ yoga school, which offers online and in-person teacher trainings. His curriculum combines detailed alignment with vinyasa theory. He began practicing yoga at age 14, studying with Richard Freeman, Pattabhi Jois, John Friend, and Manouso Manos, and he continues to study with teachers of all yoga styles and traditions. Learn more at yogamaze.net.
PHOTOS: RICK CUMMINGS; STYLIST: JESSICA JEANNE EATON; GROOMING: BETH WALKER; TOP: PRANA; BOTTOMS: LULULEMON
your practice YOGAPEDIA
Modify Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana if needed to find safe alignment in your body. If your hips or hamstrings are tight … TRY using a strap around the ball of the foot. When your hips or hamstrings are tight, you’re unable to straighten both legs while holding the big toe and keeping your torso lifted. The strap extends the length of your arm so you don’t have to lift the leg as high, while still developing greater flexibility in the pose. Make a small loop with the strap and hold the loop in your right hand as you stand in Tadasana. As you turn your right leg to the right and bend your knee, put the loop around the ball of your right foot and follow the step-by-step instructions on page 76. A strap will make balance easier so that you can hold the pose longer and stretch your hips.
If your hips or hamstrings are tight and you don’t have a strap …
If you’re struggling to balance and keep falling out of the pose …
TRY practicing the pose with your knee bent: Follow steps 1 through to 3 to the point of holding your big toe with the first two fingers of your hand. Keep your knee bent as much as you need to while moving the leg to the side, stabilising your pelvis and lifting your torso evenly without leaning forward or to either side.
TRY using a wall for balance. Stand with your left side toward the wall about an arm’s length away. Put your left hand on the wall, and follow all the instructional steps. As you move into the pose, your arm will bend slightly. Avoid leaning heavily on the wall. If you start to feel stable, try to bring your hand off the wall and balance, reaching back for support as needed.
LET GO OF PERFECTION Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana is an intermediate standing balancing pose. If you find this pose difficult, you are in good company. If you fall out of the pose, do not give up, as falling is part of the process. Take a few steady breaths in Tadasana. Stand tall. Stand strong. Refocus and try again. Know that you are getting stronger each time. Let the pose become your teacher, and you will gain strength, focus, confidence, and poise. Take the lessons of this pose off the mat and into your life in every instance in which you face challenging circumstances, and need to simultaneously be steady, strong, and sensitive. Despite your best efforts, you will “fall out of poses” in life, too, and that’s OK. That’s why we call it yoga practice: Your practice on the mat is training you for your practice off the mat.
Ardha Navasana Benefit Strengthens your hip flexors, deep core muscles, and all the muscles of your abdominal wall
Instruction Sit in Dandasana (Staff Pose), with your legs stretched forward and your torso upright. Interlace your fingers behind your head and exhale as you lean back onto your sacrum in an open V shape. Strongly engage your pelvic floor and lower belly, and simultaneously lift both legs off the floor until your toes are the same height as your nose. Squeeze your legs together and continue to engage your core muscles and pelvic floor, lifting your lower belly in and up toward your sternum. Move your shoulder blades away from your ears and widen your elbows. Hold for 5–8 breaths. Exhale, lower your legs, and rest for a few breaths. Repeat two more times.
Half Boat Pose
Strengthen your core and outer hips and stretch your inner thighs and hamstrings in these prep poses for Eka Pada Vasisthasana.
Extended Triangle Pose
Half Moon Pose
Stretches your hamstrings and inner thighs; strengthens your quadriceps and outer hips
Stretches your hamstrings and inner thighs; strengthens your hip muscles; helps to develop balance and equanimity
Stand in Mountain Pose. On an inhale, step your feet out about 4 feet apart. Stretch your arms straight out from your shoulders. Adjust your stance so your ankles are as wide as your wrists. Turn your left foot in slightly and turn your right foot and leg out 90 degrees. Lift your kneecaps. Inhale, lift your spine. Exhale, lean to your right as you shift your pelvis to the left, and bring your right hand down to the floor or block outside your shin. Stretch your left arm up. Turn your belly to the left and look up. Stay for 5 breaths; repeat on the other side.
Return to Triangle Pose on the right side; exhale, look down, bend your right knee, step your left foot in, and place your right hand on the floor or a block 8–12 inches in front of your little toe. Inhale, lift your left leg so it’s parallel to the long edges of your mat. Straighten your right knee. Scoop your right buttock toward your left foot. Stretch the left arm up. Engage your core. If you’re balanced, turn your head to look up to your left hand. Hold for 5–8 breaths. Exhale, look down, bend your right knee, and slowly step your left leg down. Repeat on the other side.
Strengthen your core and shoulders and develop better balance as you move step by step into Eka Pada Vasisthasana. Benefit Stabilizes the core; builds wrist, arm, and shoulder strength; develops balance and willpower
1 Come into Plank Pose, with your outer shoulders over your mid-wrists. Turn your hands out until your index fingers are parallel to each other. Press down through your index-finger knuckles; widen your shoulder blades and slide them down your back. 2 Move into Vasisthasana (Side Plank Pose) by pressing your inner right hand down, externally rotating your upper right arm and sliding the shoulder blade away from your ear as you spin your outer right heel to the floor. Line up the center of your right foot with the center of your right wrist. Stack your left leg on top of your right and pull the outer edges of your feet toward your outer shins and create “Tadasana feet.” Firm your right biceps and be mindful that you do not hyperextend your elbow (if you are prone to hyperextension, bend your elbow slightly). Stretch your left arm straight up. If you feel stable, look up to your left hand. Hold for 5 to 8 breaths. 3 If you’re stable in and can hold Side Plank Pose for 5 to 8 breaths, externally rotate your left hip, bend your left knee, and hold your big toe. Move your left buttock toward your right foot as you keep externally rotating your left hip.
Eka Pada Vasisthasana eka = one · pada = leg or foot · Vasistha = the name of a prominent rishi (sage) in the Vedic tradition · asana = pose One-Legged Side Plank Pose
Stay safe To stabilise your weight-bearing arm, press down firmly through the inner edge of your hand, and engage your biceps by doing an isometric biceps curl (don’t actually move the arm). If your elbow is hyperextending, bend your elbow between 5 and 10 degrees. Externally rotate your upper arm and depress your left scapula (slide it away from your ear).
DON’T drop your pelvis toward the floor. This “hip dip” is frequently caused by tight hamstrings or weak glutes. If straightening the top leg is causing your pelvis to drop, use a strap around the foot and/or keep your top knee slightly bent.
DON’T overly lift your pelvis away from the floor and “break” the diagonal line of Side Plank. You may be able to go beyond the diagonal, but doing this actually requires less core strength.
4 Hold your big toe or use a strap, and straighten your left leg up while keeping your right side body in a straight diagonal line (neutral cervical spine). Look down at first to help with balance, and then look forward. If your neck feels strain free, turn your head to look up toward your left foot. To remain strong in the pose, continue to externally rotate your upper right arm, draw the sides of your waist in, and lift your lower belly in and up. Hold for 5 breaths. Exhale as you release your left leg and return to Plank Pose. Repeat all 4 steps on the other side.
your practice ANATOMY
Body of knowledge How to tap the real power of your breath By Ray Long, MD
TAKE A MOMENT TO THINK about your breath: Is it deep or shallow? Slow or fast? It’s interesting that it can take a few moments to figure out our patterns of breathing, even though it’s something we’re always doing. The reason most of us can’t pinpoint what’s happening right away is because breathing happens unconsciously: It’s part of the autonomic nervous system, which tells our internal organs (like the diaphragm and lungs) to function without our conscious control. Yet unlike other functions our autonomic nervous system regulates—like digestion and circulation— breathing can also be voluntarily regulated. And when I teach patients and yoga students how to do this, it can transform their practice. For starters, regulating the breath through a technique commonly called “belly breathing” creates more capacity to take bigger breaths. People often tell me that just 1o minutes of belly breathing seems to help their breathing feel “freer”. In turn, this leads them to tune in to the energetic centre in the abdominal area, where the “belly brain” lives. (See “What is the ‘belly brain’?” on page 82.) Finally, there’s an energetic shift that happens when you’re able to control your breath with belly breathing. You may start to see the breath as not just air, but also as energy moving within your body. When this happens, you’re really tapping into the power of breathing.
Prep for belly breathing These poses help release tension from the belly, ribs, and back. Try them before belly breathing—or any pranayama practice.
Parighasana . Gate Pose
Kneel on your right leg and stretch your left leg out to the side, turning the foot so that the toes point toward the corner of your mat. Inhale and extend your arms to either side at shoulder height. Keeping your sides long, exhale and bend leftward to bring your left hand toward your left ankle. Sweep your right hand overhead, feeling length in your right side body. Stay for up to a minute; inhale to come up, and then switch sides.
Virabhadrasana II Standing with your legs about four feet apart, turn your right foot 90 degrees to the right and your left foot slightly to the right. Bring your hands to Anjali Mudra at your heart centre. Keep your left leg straight and strong. Exhale and bend your right knee until your thigh is about parallel with the floor, with your knee directly above your heel. Press into your hands as you fill the entire circumference of your belly and rib cage with one complete breath. Hold for three breaths.
Warrior Pose II
PHOTO: RICK CUMMINGS; ILLUSTRATION: MICHELE GRAHAM; MODEL: GEENIE CELENTO; STYLIST: JESSICA JEANNE EATON; HAIR/MAKEUP: BETH WALKER; TOP: BEYOND YOGA/KATE SPADE; BOTTOMS: TEEKI
Before learning how to belly-breathe, it helps to understand the basic anatomy of the breath. Respiration happens in two phases: inspiration (inhaling) and expiration (exhaling). Normal, restful breathing primarily uses the diaphragm, whereas exercise or exertion recruits the accessory muscles of breathing—the intercostal and upper thoracic muscles, near the ribs and chest, respectively— to further expand the chest. A full yogic breath is based on diaphragmatic, or belly, breathing, but includes intercostal and upper thoracic breathing as well. When you inhale, your diaphragm contracts, flattening out and pressing down on the abdomen, which in turn expands the chest. At the same time, the external intercostal muscles (located between the ribs) work to lift and expand the chest by drawing the ribs upward and out, increasing the capacity for volume in the chest. A deep breath also activates the accessory muscles of breathing, including the pectorals, serratus anterior, rhomboids, and middle trapezius, which all work to expand and lift the upper chest. Finally, there are the scalene muscles, which run from the cervical spine (a.k.a. your neck) to the upper two ribs. You can feel these muscles contract by placing your fingers on either side of your neck and taking a deep, sharp inhalation. The scalene muscles work along with the diaphragm and intercostals to balance the expansion of the lower ribs by lifting the upper chest. This increased volume in the chest not only makes room for the air coming into the lungs, it also changes the atmospheric pressure inside the lungs, creating a vacuum that actually draws air in. At the end of inhalation, the diaphragm relaxes, returning to its domelike structure, which initiates your exhale. This, along with the elastic recoil of the structures of the chest wall and contraction of the internal intercostals and accessory muscles of exhalation, raises the pressure within the thorax (the area between the neck and the abdomen), causing the air in the lungs to be expelled. Since breathing starts with the diaphragm, I begin breathing techniques with belly breathing. Lie down, with one block under your upper back and another under your head; you can also lie over a bolster. As you inhale, actively expand your abdomen—though try not to let your chest expand until the last few
your practice ANATOMY
From Warrior II, flip your right palm up and inhale to reach that arm up and overhead. Lean back, inhaling deeply, and release any tension in your belly and around the diaphragm’s attachments to the lower-front rib cage. Exhale fully, and then inhale again to lift your torso up away from your pelvis as you exhale back into Warrior II. Move between Warrior II and Reverse Warrior several times on the right side; repeat this sequence on the left.
Lie on your back. Place your left ankle on your right knee and draw your right knee toward your chest, clasping your hands around your shin or behind your thigh (or use a strap). Bring your right foot and shin parallel to the floor and release tension in the shoulders. Deepen your breath against your back ribs on the floor, and use the breath to increase the stretch down the torso. Observe how deepening your breath enhances the stretch in the left hip. Stay as long as you like, then switch sides.
seconds of your inhale. (If you allow your abdominal area, and not your chest, to expand, it’ll teach you to breathe into this lower region— especially helpful for those who can’t easily access belly breathing.) Then release and exhale, letting the abdomen fall and tightening it at the very end of your exhalation: This fully pushes your diaphragm up into its domelike shape. Repeat this cycle for three minutes, and build up to five or six minutes over time. When you feel like you’ve got the hang of this, transition into a seated position and do the same thing. To prep your body to engage the muscles of breathing, you may want to create physical space with asana so that tight muscles don’t inhibit your effort to expand your breath. The goal of developing a deeper belly breath is to enhance your awareness of the breath circumferentially —around your entire thorax—including your sides and front
What is the “belly brain”? This may come as a surprise coming from me, an orthopedic surgeon, but we actually have a brain in the solar plexus (located at the pit of the stomach) that’s referred to as the “belly brain”. It is your gut feeling, and it functions largely unconsciously. In fact, most people only become aware of the belly brain in extreme situations, in which survival instincts kick in and override the “thinking brain”. Nearly all of the practices developed to heighten awareness of the “belly brain” involve some variation of belly breathing. Beyond the calming effects of a regular belly-breathing practice, there’s a good chance you’ll also have enhanced awareness of any negative influences affecting you beyond your conscious awareness.
and back body. To do this, practice poses that release tension from the belly, ribs, and back by stretching the thorax up and away from the pelvis. Try the poses on page 81 before your pranayama practice, and then see how much freer your breath feels and how much more in tune you become with your belly brain.
OUR PROS Teacher Ray Long, MD, is an orthopedic surgeon in Detroit and the founder of Bandha Yoga, a website and book series dedicated to the anatomy and biomechanics of yoga. He trained with B.K.S. Iyengar. Model Geenie Celento is a Denver-based yoga teacher.
in ir ti n MEET MY TEACHER
a path of
devotion I started yoga at the gym when I was at university, and for the first few years I practiced as part of an exercise regime. Over time, I lost interest in lifting weights and running on treadmills but my passion for getting on the mat just grew deeper. When I later moved to the UK, I found a very special teacher who inspired me daily, not just with her knowledge and strength but in how she methodically laid out this spiritual path as something that requires work, focus and dedication.
What has been your greatest learning as a yoga teacher and a student? Teacher and student are so interwoven within me now that it’s difficult to draw a line between them. Both sides are constantly evolving to new understandings and challenges, but the most profound thing I’ve learnt so far is how to be still and quiet.
As a studio owner, what has been your biggest setback, and how did you emerge from it? The biggest setback was having my first studio burn down in the summer of 2014. In the middle of a scorching heat wave, something caught fire in the business downstairs and took out the whole building. While the fire was blazing, one of my teachers, Marian, was upstairs leading a
full class. Thank goodness they smelt the smoke just before Savasana and were all safely evacuated. My husband and I had a two-year-old son and a three-month-old daughter at the time so it did put a lot more stress into what was already a busy and sleep-deprived time for our family. Although the loss of the studio felt insurmountable, our students never gave up on us and followed us through three more moves over the next six months. When we found our current dream space all the pieces fell into place and the studio is now more vibrant and full of energy than I had ever dreamed. Bricks and mortar are obviously an important part of the equation, but the people are what really make a space shine.
If you could meet yourself now as the person you were the first time you stepped on a mat, what would your advice be to that person in relation to their yoga journey? I would just say you are incredibly lucky. You are lucky to have a body that moves, lungs that breathe and a mind that has the potential to observe and transcend these things. There’s a map laid out by those who have come before you; study well but ultimately walk your own path.
Do you want to shine a light on your teacher? Send nominations to email@example.com
Quick Qs Your greatest teacher My husband Nathan, son Mack and daughter Summer. I love how Pattabhi Jois called family life the seventh series of Ashtanga Yoga, the most challenging of all. I feel like that’s where some of the most genuine yoga is … in the people you interact with every day and how you treat each other. In terms of traditional yoga, Simon Borg Olivier is a true master and I value his teachings highly.
Favourite yoga pose I don’t have a favourite pose as such, but Surya Namaskar A is the part I most enjoy. It’s got everything – forward and backward bending, jumping, bandha and drishte. I love the warmth and quiet focus it sets up from the very first breath.
Favourite travel destination Ubud, Bali. So much goodness! And now I want to go there!
What inspired you to embrace the practice of yoga?
Inspiring teacher and owner of Absolute Yoga and Pilates in Ballarat, Tracey Hargreaves, shares her greatest yogic insights.
Off the Mat INTERVIEW
Be the CHANGE
PHOTO: LOVETHEWIND/ ISTOCKPHOTO.COM
Jivamukti Yoga teacher Anna Greer chats to AYJ about making wise choices, healing the Earth and yogic karma.
Anna is a Jivamukti Yoga Teacher, writer and activist from Sydney who completed her first Jivamukti 300-hour training in 2011 in New York, and she continues to train and practice this unique style of yoga. Jivamukti Yoga, as defined by its founders Sharon Gannon and Davie Life, is “a path to enlightenment through compassion for all beings”. The practice includes dynamic asana as well as the philosophical teachings of yoga. Anna loves that Jivamukti Yoga inspires us all to “be the change”.
AYJ How do you incorporate the philosophies of yoga into the way you live day-to-day? ANNA One of the most powerful things we can do for the planet is to adopt a vegan lifestyle. We still live within the paradigm of consumption – it’s very hard to escape without eschewing civilisation altogether! That’s not so practical for everyone, so we can at least make the most ethical choices available. I try to keep my ﬁeld of vision open so I can learn how I can make better choices. So I ask myself, how damaging are the clothes I buy to the environment, to people, to animals? How can I use less plastic? Where does my energy come from? Where does my food come from? What can I give to the world to balance all this taking? The animal agriculture industry is one of the most destructive machines on the planet. Animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, ocean dead zones, water use and species loss. Depending on who you ask, the industry is responsible for more greenhouse gases than all of the transport of the world combined, or it’s the biggest emitter of greenhouse gasses out of all sectors. One thing that really hit me from the amazing documentary Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret was when Richard Oppenlander said that even if we stopped burning fossil fuels tomorrow, we will still exceed our 565 gigatonnes CO2e limit by 2030, all because of the animal agriculture industry.
AYJ How, for you, is yoga and activism related? How do they support one another? ANNA Here’s the thing, and I’m going to be honest here, I think it’s too late. All of the things I’ve mentioned about being a better consumer, it’s nowhere near enough. Our human culture of ownership of the Earth needs to be completely dismantled. I think the only thing that is going to stop our destruction of the planet is the mass extinction event that scientists predict will happen if we keep on our current trajectory. Pretty depressing huh? So the question then that crosses most people’s minds is understandably, well what is the point? And that’s where the yoga teachings can be of great service to those despairing or feeling helpless. The Bhagavad Gita especially is a text I have found useful for activism. Krishna says to the wavering warrior Arjuna that he must act, but to act without thought of success or failure. To act without attachment to the results of the actions. It really is a valuable teaching. Even if it’s too late, we, who consider ourselves healers, can hold space for love, kindness, fearlessness, beauty. Karma expands, and we can plant good karmic seeds to expand into whatever comes after this age. The Earth will take care of herself and really that’s a beautiful thing. So our role then is to heal our disconnection from her. AYJ What’s your advice to yogis wanting to apply the principles of yoga off the mat? ANNA With tenderness, curiosity, warmth and openness, reﬂect on how each action can more strongly align with justice and contribute more net joy in the world, than net harm. And another question to ask is, what can I offer to the world to contribute to healing? What can I give?
AYJ Are there any causes that you’re especially passionate about at the moment? ANNA My focus right now is on the biggest challenge humanity faces, and that is our destruction of and disconnection from the natural world. I see all of our collective problems as stemming from humanity’s view of nature as something to be consumed or to be conquered – from this JudeoChristian idea that man has dominion over nature. I try to live my life in a way that resists the dominant culture. I see passing on these teachings of yoga as a form of activism. I have been involved in direct action in the more recent past and both are important. I love the work that the direct action organisation Sea Shepherd Conservation Society does in protecting the world’s oceans. I have
been on campaign with Sea Shepherd twice in Antarctica protecting whales from Japan’s whaling ﬂeet. There is something very powerful about ﬁghting destruction in that more direct way and it’s important we approach these things on all levels: education, direct action, and setting an example by living in a way that reﬂects the kind of world we want to create.
AYJ What came ﬁrst for you, an interest in activism or yoga? ANNA Activism. I was in the student activist scene at university and it was during a time when the Howard Government’s asylum seeker policies were at their harshest. I was involved in most of the causes of the Left but the way the government was treating asylum seekers was what I felt most strongly about. Aside from attending protests, friends and I visited people detained in Baxter Detention Centre in South Australia and would send care packages. It was so heartbreaking to see children who had been locked up for years and had their childhood stolen from them in prison. We brought paper and colouring pencils for them and they all drew the most heart-rending things – caged birds and things like this. I didn’t know how to funnel that heartbreak into anything but anger at that point, so there was a big rage against the machine element to my activism … there was more hostility involved. How I approached activism after incorporating the teachings of yoga into my life was different.
BHUTAN IS A SECLUDED PLACE. A TINY KINGDOM THAT SITS NESTLED BETWEEN CHINA AND INDIA, IT IS SHADOWED BY PEAKS AS HIGH AS 7554 METRES. YOU DISCOVER A CALM SPIRITUAL ESSENCE AS YOU TRAVEL THROUGH ITS SMALL TOWNS, HIGH PASSES AND TRADITIONAL VILLAGES AND VISIT ITS MAGNIFICENT DZONGS (FORTRESS MONASTERIES). TO HELP PRESERVE LOCAL CULTURE AND TRADITIONS AND TO AVOID PUTTING TOO MUCH PRESSURE ON LIMITED TOURIST FACILITIES, THE GOVERNMENT HAS OPTED FOR HIGH-VALUE, LOW-IMPACT TOURISM. IN FACT, BHUTAN WAS ONLY OPENED TO THE WORLD IN 1974, AND VISITOR NUMBERS WERE INITIALLY LOW BECAUSE YOU COULD ONLY ENTER THE TINY KINGDOM BY ROAD. NOW, YOU CAN FLY IN. MOVING SLOWLY AROUND the giant prayer wheel at the Memorial Chorten in Thimphu, I was aware I was spinning and releasing more than one million prayers written on tiny scrolls inside. This sacred place is open for prayer at 3.00am. My guide, Tashi, explained, “This stupa has become a social place. People come here and walk for hours with their prayer beads and devote time to silence and spin the wheel. After, people of all
DAZE Stephanie Brookes delves deeply into her yoga practice while falling in love with Bhutan, a spiritual Buddhist nation widely known as ‘the land of happiness’.
PHOTO: DAVID METCALF
yogajournal.com.au november/december 2016
ages sit chatting with one another in the surrounding grounds. Many practice their yoga asanas here and now, since 1982 when the airport was built, we have been seeing more and more foreigners at the wheel.” Historically, the country has shared strong cultural links with Tibetan Buddhism and was part of the Silk Road linking China with the Indian subcontinent. It was an absolute monarchy until 2008. Bhutan is now a democratic country and operates as a constitutional monarchy with the king as the head of the state and prime minister as head of the government. The king, who is known as Druk Gyalpo, meaning Thunder Dragon King, is revered and consulted on important matters. It was the previous king who introduced the concept of Gross National Happiness to the kingdom in the 1970s. More recently, an index and national survey of its citizens have been introduced to measure it. Bhutan is now known worldwide as the “land of happiness”, largely because of this novel concept and survey. As a tourist, you even ﬁll out a happiness survey when you leave the country. The people are happy as they receive services such as free education and healthcare. They are also consulted on signiﬁcant matters concerning their lives. Even the animals are happy, as there is no slaughterhouse in the country. All meat served in restaurants and hotels is imported from India. Buddhism values hold strong and inﬂuence everything, including, for example,environmental goals. These dictate that 60% of Bhutan must stay covered in forest and that only clean, renewable, sustainable energy is to power the country. Currently hydro runs proﬁtably and the excess is sold to India. Clean and green – what a role model for the world. Tashi explained the National Happiness Index to me, “Every two years, we have to ﬁll in the Gross National Happiness Index and answer all the questions about our happiness and thoughts on certain matters.” With a warm smile he said, “It’s mainly about happiness. We only have 750,000 people in the whole country, so what we write does get read, actioned and delivered back to the people via amended laws and policy, if enough other people support it. Unlike the West, we do not have multiple layers and levels of administration – it goes straight to the ofﬁcials and they act. You can effect change in a country when you have small numbers,” he said knowingly. “For example, the government discourages mining, as it destroys the environment and does not provide clean energy. It detracts from happiness.” It is indeed true there are no orphans, no homeless, and no elderly in homes in Bhutan. On the Happiness Index, free education and free welfare always get support from the people. So how do they achieve this ﬁnancially? Well, we
“When I caught sight of thousands of prayer ﬂags stretching across the chasm, spanning from the trail to the monastery, it literally took my breath away.”
You are what you wear. Right? Well, the national pride shows through on the streets. Bhutanese people wear the national dress almost every day, not just on special occasions. Men wear the traditional gho and women, the kira when they go to work, the temple or school. They like it. They voted to retain it via the Index survey, and so the national dress stays. It is ﬁne to wear Western clothes at home or when just going to town, but largely you see all Bhutanese people in traditional dress. The dress code has actually been written in the constitution. So, will Bhutan ever modernise? Tashi suggested, “Only in consultation with the people. For example, television was not allowed in Bhutan for a long time. The people did not want it. I remember the day it came to Bhutan. It was June 2, 1999, when we got television.” Yes, Bhutan will modernise, but selectively, on its own terms and in its own time. What better way to get away from television than join a specialised yoga program. I found out about the COMO Uma Paro’s six-day yoga program, high in the hills above the town of Paro. For me, a journey into Bhutan meant seeking an experience that would fulﬁll me spiritually and emotionally. I wanted to really live with my head above the clouds, considering I was
geographically located in a prime position – the rooftop of the world.
Yoga, high in the Himalayas I was in very good hands at the COMO Uma Paro. The resident yoga instructor, Dr Nikhil, has eight years of formal training in Hatha, Vinyasa, Iyengar, Ashtanga, Power and Bikram yoga techniques. He is from India and specialises in natural medicine and Ayurveda. Before you start the program you have a consultation with Dr Nikhil about your general health, covering your prakruti (constitution) and vikruti (current state) based on ancient Ayurvedic science. A personal Ayurvedic program is then set for you and includes therapies, a health-promoting diet and any recommended lifestyle changes. In addition to the Yoga Program, there is also a Wellness Program. This involves a general medical and therapeutic consultation to cover all areas of health and common pathology such as heart problems, diabetes, back pain, sluggish digestion and weight management. I felt spoilt for choice here, having difﬁculty deciding which to do. Stress Management is yet another program on offer, and is another aspect of healing. This program starts with a consultation with the doctor, and incorporates yoga, meditation and implementing Ayurvedic lifestyle principles. For me, Bhutan provided the opportunity to delve more deeply into yoga. I chose the ﬁve-night/six-day yoga package. This blended one to two daily yoga sessions with picnic lunches, and guided day excursions to temples, monasteries and small villages with lots of walking. Time for myself and exploring the local environment seemed to me a perfect combination and I was able to spend every day discovering another aspect of Bhutanese culture. I was smitten. I had fallen in love with this unique, peaceful Buddhist nation. However, the highlight came at the end of my stay with the walk to the Tiger’s Nest.
Tiger’s Nest Hike It’s no walk in the park following the trail to Taktsang, the sacred Tiger’s Nest, a monastery hugging the side of a rocky cliff rising 900 metres above the Paro valley. The path is well maintained but it’s a steep climb. The walk has to be taken at a slow pace, so you can
PHOTOS: DAVID METCALF
can help a little, as all tourists entering Bhutan must pay a $330 daily fee. Of this fee, $85 is nominated as the Daily Government Royalty and the fees go directly to education, health and welfare. The balance is appropriated to pay your pre-booked hotels, tours, transport and meals. Everything is paid in advance through a registered travel agent before you arrive and you use vouchers when you travel. A great system. You can travel pretty much cashless in Bhutan and be happy at the same time knowing you are contributing to the wellness of a whole nation.
acclimatise to the high elevation. It’s a great accomplishment to reach the top. I had to climb more than a thousand steps, but the freshness of the cool mountain air and the special atmosphere surrounding this sacred climb made every single step well worth it. Seeing the cafeteria about halfway along the path was like seeing a vision from heaven, and I rested for a while before I continued on. Every step of the way I was aware I was on a pilgrimage walk, as the trail takes you to the holiest site in Bhutan. This is the place where Guru Rinpoche, also known as Padmasambhava, materialised some 1300 years ago. It is said he appeared on the back of a ﬂying tigress. He meditated in a series of caves for three years and then set out to convert the Bhutanese to Buddhism. The monastery commemorates this beginning of Buddhist Bhutan. It was built in the 1600s, although the original monastery has been replaced several times. The last reconstruction, necessary as a result of a major ﬁre, was completed in 2005. When I caught sight of thousands of prayer ﬂags stretching across the chasm, spanning from the trail to the monastery, it literally took my breath away. As I made my way past the 60-metre waterfall, more prayer ﬂags ﬂew above me, taking the words of the prayers, written on the chakra-coded small pieces of cloth, away in the wind. There is power in those prayers, perhaps released in whispers across the Himalayas. A universal wisdom permeating the ether – I felt it at that moment. The ﬁnal part of the climb was over a bridge. As I edged past the sheer rock face wall, I could see many remnants of many tsa-tsas, tiny cone-like offerings which contained the ashes of the dead. One last ﬂight of steps and I had arrived at the monastery. We had to leave our camera, phones and shoes at the gates. With an air of humility and reverence, we then entered the chambers, which were adorned with Buddhist icons and rows of butter lamps. I could feel the warmth of the divine light inside the temple and was overwhelmed with a deep sense of connection, which one feels when visiting a truly holy place. One of the monastery chambers had a monk chanting, so we bypassed that. However, the next chamber was empty and our guide invited us to sit quietly and led us in a meditation. The feeling of being above the clouds in this isolated cliff-hanging temple was a special moment. It is very common for people to experience spiritual awakenings and have profound experiences at the Tiger’s Nest, my guide told us. Bhutan is a place of profound, pious Buddhist principles. A happy place, layered with prayers and ﬂags and positive messages of peace and beauty, carried in the Himalayan wind over its mountainous exquisite landscape.
WHERE TO STAY Como Uma Bhutan http://www.comohotels.com/uma/bhutan
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in ir ti n AYJ INTERVIEW FAVOURITE POSES Sun Salutations. I love how they invoke a disarming humbleness. They help me show up in my life willing to surrender.
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“I love the sutra sthira sukham asanam: ‘Effort without tension, relaxation without dullness.’ It reminds me that energy should not be confused with anxiety and stress.”
I became a vegan when I was a teenager. It was a rebellion of sorts—a powerful statement to make at my age and at that time. In college, I studied comparative religion, meditation, Suﬁsm, and Buddhism. I also became interested in Ashtanga Yoga, which spoke to me immediately as a tool to access the quality of life that I wanted. My interest in food dovetailed with my yoga practice, begging the question, “What is the food that will bring the most vitality into my life?” My first real yoga teachers were Eddie Modestini and Nicki Doane. I’d moved to Maui when I was 20 to become a chef, and in 1996, I opened one of the ﬁrst raw-food restaurants in the country, The Raw Experience. My home practice was the glue holding me together during that chaotic time. In 1998, Woody Harrelson took me to a class taught by Eddie and Nicki, and within a few months I rented a cottage on their property on the North
Yoga is my baseline. I practice every day. I also practice pranayama every morning. I once read that a six-minute Breath of Fire practice is the cardiovascular equivalent of running half a mile. It’s both practical and spiritual. Breathing is an anchor, a focus, and a way to tame my monkey mind. So I carve out the time for it no matter what. Thinking we are separate from our environment is a recipe for disaster. I use my yoga practice to become more aware of my actions in relationship to others and the planet. Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I worry that we have passed the tipping point in terms of environmental damage. And yet it’s crippling to live in fear. Yoga helps me remember how temporary this life is, and with that bigger view I can tap into the world’s beauty in a more lighthearted way.
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